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Attorney asks federal court to stop state’s investigation

Robert Myers, attorney and former candidate for Ravalli County District Court Judge, filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Missoula on May 4, asking the court to grant a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing state law concerning criminal defamation because it is unconstitutional.
Myers filed the lawsuit after he was informed that he was under investigation in response to a complaint filed by Judge Jeffrey Langton alleging criminal defamation. Myers claims the criminal investigation is violating his rights to free speech and interfering with his own attempts to interview witnesses to testify in actions brought against him by the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
The ODC has three charges of professional misconduct currently pending against Myers related to advertisements that he ran against Langton in the last election and remarks to the press. The complaints accuse Myers of making statements that he knew to be false about Langton. Among other things Myers accused Langton of purchasing drugs and providing alcohol to a 13-year-old boy over whom he later would sit in judgment. Myers claims that Judge Langton is “unfit for office” and has “abused his power as a judge.”
Myers claims in his federal lawsuit that the investigation launched over Langton’s complaint involves the very same witnesses that he needs to testify on his behalf in the ODC complaints against him. He wants the federal court to declare the state’s criminal defamation law unconstitutional and enjoin the state from enforcing it. He is also asking for “nominal damages” and the cost of litigation and attorney fees.
Myers also filed a federal lawsuit against the state ODC last June asking that portions of the state’s judicial and professional codes be declared unconstitutional. He believes the prohibition against making false statements about a judge during a campaign is a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. A trial in that case is scheduled for September.

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