On Friday former Ontario PC Leader and current PC leadership candidate Patrick Brown’s lawyers’ libel notice was served to CTV over its “false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory” reporting of sexual misconduct allegations against Brown.
The defendants listed in the libel notice include CTV News president Wendy Freeman, chief news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, reporters Glenn McGregor and Rachel Aiello, as well as any editors, producers, researchers and fact checkers involved in CTV’s reporting. CTV’s sister network CP24 and its reporter Travis Dhanjar are also listed as defendants.
“CTV News has received a notice of libel. CTV News stands by its reporting and will actively defend its journalism in court,” was CTV’s official statement Saturday morning.
— Kamil Karamali (@KamilKaramali) February 24, 2018
Brown’s lawyers Julian Porter and Howard Winkler cite the January 24 exposé, follow-up January 25 report, and articles “Patrick Brown denies sexual misconduct allegations from two women, resigns as Ontario PC leader” and “Patrick Brown accusers stand by allegations” as defamatory.
The libel notice also claims the “Defamatory Words … have subjected [Brown] to ridicule, hatred and contempt and have caused and will continue to cause damage to his reputation personally and in the way of his office, profession, trade and calling.” The document claims that the reports “falsely and maliciously” led people to believe Brown illegally provided alcohol to a minor and engaged in sexual misconduct. Brown’s lawyers also take issue with CTV reporting the accusers’ allegations against him as true and “the resignations of 5 key staff members [as confirmation] that the allegations are true.”
CTV’s January 24 broadcast report of two confidential sources alleging sexual misconduct by Brown led to him calling an emergency press conference just before the story broke. Brown was forced to resign as Ontario PC leader by his caucus hours after the story aired.
Brown’s libel notice against CTV demands the news network issue a full apology and retraction to reduce “unknown” damages caused to his reputation. Brown’s lawyers also demand all drafts, notes, tapes, emails and documents pertaining to its coverage of Brown be kept for “safekeeping”.
It’s unclear why CP24 and CP24’s Travis Dhanraj are also included in the libel notice. Private investigator Derrick Snowdy has been claiming on social media that he has audio of an interview between one of the accusers and CTV news anchor Lisa LaFlamme, in which he alleges the accuser mentions Dhanraj reaching out to her to tell her story. Snowdy also alleges LaFlamme encouraged the one accuser to say she was underage in the interview. Repeated attempts to get in touch with Snowdy have gone unanswered.
The one accuser eventually changed her story to say that she was of legal drinking age at the time of the alleged incident with Brown.
Brown’s lawyers did not immediately respond for comment.
BREAKING: @CTVNews served Notice of Libel from @brownbarrie lawyers. Statement from Lawyer Howard Winkler "A Notice of Libel on behalf of Mr. Brown was delivered earlier this evening by email to Bell Media and the other defendants named in the Notice." #onpoli
— Kari Vierimaa (@karivierimaa) February 24, 2018