Today, Michelle Schoeneman, candidate for the Erie County Legislature’s 10th District, filed a summons with notice of a defamation lawsuit with the State of New York Supreme Court against Joseph Lorigo, his campaign, and his consultant, Chris Grant, over the outright lies the campaign has used against Schoeneman in a recent robo call and television ad regarding the serious opioid epidemic.

The summons states, “Beginning on November 1, 2017, Defendants knowingly and/or recklessly published or caused to be published false, misleading statements against Plaintiff Michelle J. Schoeneman, a candidate for the Erie County Legislature for the 10th Legislative District. Specifically, Defendants falsely claims Michelle Schoeneman ‘wants to bring free heroin shoot-up sites to our community. That’s right, free drugs for addicts and you pay for it.’ Plaintiff has never introduced, outlined, discussed or supported any policy relating to free heroin shoot-up sites within Erie County.”

The summons adds, “Defendants, with malice and reckless disregard for the truth, have published or caused to be published these calculated falsehoods to deceive voters and to have a deleterious effect on the upcoming General Election. False, malicious and defamatory statements do not arise to political speech and are not protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.”

In an 11th hour desperate act, Lorigo and his campaign have defamed Schoeneman by using baseless accusations against her in a pathetic attempt to scare voters.

“This is why people hate government and politics. This is why people are reluctant to run against a wealthy and powerful political machine like the Lorigos,” said Schoeneman. “It has become commonplace for politicians and their campaigns to spread lies about other candidates and issues all in the name of winning. Enough is enough! I’m filing this summons to take a stand not just for me, but for anyone considering a challenge to the status quo in politics. Good, honest, hard-working people should not be afraid to run for office because of the possibility of a smear campaign being launched against them. Any money awarded to me in this lawsuit will go to local non-profit organizations, including those that address drug and alcohol addiction.”

Schoeneman concluded, “This is the type of politics I have been fighting against and why I decided to challenge my opponent. Whether I win this lawsuit or the election on Tuesday I will not stop standing up for what I believe and fighting for the middle and working class people of my community. I am a middle class teacher, community leader, and mother who will be a voice for the working and middle class; not the wealthy and well-connected. It’s time for a change!”