Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign committee sued the unidentified makers of a video attacking ex-Republican rival Jon Huntsman claiming it falsely implies it was made or endorsed by the Texas congressman.
A video uploaded from a Twitter account to YouTube on Jan. 4 called “Jon Huntsman’s Values” questions the ex-governor’s religious faith, refers to him as “China Jon” and ends with a fictitious depiction of Huntsman in a Mao Zedong uniform and the text “American Values and Liberty -- Vote for Ron Paul,” according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in San Francisco.
The makers use the pseudonym NHLiberty4Paul, “which further implies that plaintiff created endorsed or is affiliated in some way with the video and its contents,” the Paul campaign’s lawyers said in the complaint.
Press coverage of the video has been “scathingly negative” toward Paul because of the assumption that he was behind it, the lawyers said. Ex-Utah Governor Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, announced Jan. 16 that he would drop out of the Republican presidential race and endorse former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
“This is a classic case of dirty politics resulting from the unlawful use in commerce of an underhanded and deceptive advertisement designed to tarnish plaintiff’s reputation,” according to the complaint. The identities of the videos creators are unknown, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint for false designation, false advertising and defamation seeks unspecified punitive damages and a court order barring use of Paul’s name and trademarks and requiring the video to be taken down and destroyed.
The case is Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign Committee Inc. v. John Does, 12-cv-00240, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).