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PRESS RELEASE: Hallman Campaign Demands DeWit Retract Accusations About Signs

From Hugh Hallman campaign

NOTE: After receiving the letter referenced in this release, the DeWit campaign pulled the video and posts with the accusations against our campaign from their web site and YouTube site. However, DeWit has yet to retract his false statements.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hallman Campaign Demands DeWit Retract Accusations About Signs, Remove Doctored Video From Internet; Possible Litigation For Defamation/Libel

PHOENIX, Arizona (August 22, 2014) —Republican State Treasurer Candidate Hugh Hallman’s campaign today sent a letter to candidate Jeff DeWit demanding he retract false, defamatory and libelous accusations about Hallman concerning campaign road signs.

The letter demanded that DeWit also remove a doctored video from the internet purporting to show Hallman putting up a road sign in front of one of DeWit’s signs, when Hallman was actually taking down a sign instead in response to an “anonymous” complaint — a clear “gotcha” technique designed to defame Hallman and his campaign for State Treasurer.hallman pic

The text of the letter sent by Hallman’s attorney to DeWit’s attorney is as follows:

Recently Jeff DeWit posted on his website a statement accusing Hugh Hallman personally of committing a crime, which not only is false, it constitutes defamation and libel per se. Further, Mr. DeWit later posted a video that concludes in an attempt to show Mr. Hallman erecting one of his campaign’s signs to block one of Mr. DeWit’s campaign signs. That “conclusion” is false.

As has now been reported, Mr. Hallman’s campaign received an anonymous phone call complaining about one of Mr. Hallman’s signs blocking the sign of “another” Treasurer candidate. Mr. Hallman heard the message in the presence of three campaign volunteers who will testify to these facts. Mr. Hallman concluded that the continuous interference with his campaign signs had become significant enough that he would investigate this instance personally. He was joined by one of the campaign volunteers.

When Mr. Hallman and the volunteer arrived at the noted location, they examined the situation, took pictures of the signs and then proceeded to remove Mr. Hallman’s campaign sign to eliminate any issue and despite that it appeared to Mr. Hallman that his sign clearly had been manipulated by a third party.

It should not have come as a surprise that one or more individuals associated with Mr. DeWit’s campaign were discretely “present” to video tape and photograph Mr. Hallman and the volunteer when they arrived at the location to address the anonymous complaint. It also is no surprise given prior misstatements by Mr. DeWit about Mr. Hallman that Mr. DeWit’s campaign has created and released a video that has been manipulated to make it appear that Mr. Hallman was erecting rather than removing the sign in question.

There appears to be significant effort exerted by Mr. DeWit’s campaign to capture and then doctor the video and photographs created by the DeWit campaign. That the manipulated video created a false impression and conclusion is demonstrated by, among other things, the “tease” aired by Channel 3 news on August 21 at 6:00 p.m. The effort and coordination that clearly took place by Mr. DeWit’s campaign to create this false impression demonstrates that it was done knowingly and with malice. This, too, amounts to libel and, given the number of parties likely involved, it amounts to conspiracy to commit defamation and/or aiding and abetting defamation.

Accordingly, please immediately cause Mr. DeWit to retract his statement, remove the video from the web, and issue an apology for making the false statements claiming Mr. Hallman personally has engaged in criminal activity.

Furthermore, please consider this a demand that any and all documents and communications of any kind among Mr. DeWit, members of his campaign and any third party be preserved in anticipation of litigation on this matter. You have an obligation to see to it that any and all evidence regarding this matter, as well as any and all evidence reasonably calculated to lead to evidence in this matter, be preserved. Such items include, but are not limited to, emails, texts, phone call logs, voice mail messages and any other document or communication, whether in paper or electronic format.

We look forward to Mr. DeWit’s retraction immediately.

This is not the first time Hallman’s opponents in a campaign have resorted to dirty and questionable tactics. When Hallman ran for Mayor of Tempe in 2004, an opponent improperly gained access to confidential information in city records — including Hallman’s Social Security number and bank account information — as part of an effort to defame Hallman. The tactic backfired, and Hallman won election by a comfortable margin.

For more information, visit www.hughhallman.com.

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