“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” — Proverbs 28:1
Last week I blogged about how 82nd District Judge candidate Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr. fled a judicial candidates forum in Franklin, Texas, and ever since his supporters have accused me of “lying.” Well, now that I have video and police reports from the event, we can all see who was lying (hint: it wasn’t me). Body camera video from three Franklin police officers shows a slightly-stooped, unarmed elderly man with a wavering voice as he displays legal documents to the officers and explains why he believes Mr. Russ is unfit to hold judicial office. Click on these links to see for yourself:
Sgt. Taylor’s video is the most comprehensive, probably because he arrived first, and it refutes most of what Mr. Russ’s supporters have said about the incident.
This morning I sent a letter on behalf of that elderly gentleman, 71-year-old Ronald Braneff, demanding a front-page retraction and apology from The Robertson County News, as well as the termination of publisher Dennis Phillips for defamation. Mr. Phillips did not attend the candidates forum, but one of his reporters did, and he must not have liked what she had to say because he did not let her write about it in the newspaper.
Instead, Mr. Phillips wrote an an opinion column trying to portray Mr. Russ’s cowardice as a profile in courage. And while Mr. Phillips had every legal right to spin the story in favor of his preferred candidate, he did not have the legal right to make a false accusation that Mr. Braneff had previously attacked Mr. Russ. Granted, Mr. Phillips did not mention Mr. Braneff by name, but people in the community knew exactly who he was writing about.
In a similar Facebook post, Mr. Phillips described Mr. Braneff (again, not by name) as “unstable” and further claimed that five gunshots had been fired near Mr. Russ’s house on the evening of the candidates forum. Bear in mind, Mr. Phillips was not at the candidates forum and had never met nor talked with Mr. Braneff, so I emailed a couple of questions to Mr. Phillips: … Read more