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Tony Alamo’s lawyers seeks changes in civil lawsuit • Tuesday December 23, 2008

Lawyer claims certain language in the suit is attempt to stigmatize Alamo

Embattled evangelist Tony Alamo’s lawyer has asked that “immaterial, impertinent or scandalous” language be removed from a civil lawsuit targeting Alamo in federal court.

The language was included in the suit only in an attempt “to stigmatize the defendant,” Alamo lawyer John Wesley Hall of Little Rock said in a filing last week. Hall also asked in a Sunday filing that one claim made in the lawsuit be dismissed altogether.

The suit was filed Nov. 25 in federal district court at Texarkana on behalf of Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondirsek, two men who grew up in the church’s compound in Fouke in western Arkansas. The suit asks for more than $75,000 for damages “in the form of physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and scarring/disfigurement.”

Alamo, 74, also faces criminal charges in federal court. He was jailed without bond while awaiting trial in February on counts that accuse him of raping and sexually abusing girls in the ministry, and taking them across state lines for purposes of sex. Alamo has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.

Among passages that Hall claimed were objectionable was one that said:

“Alamo’s theology is known for its virulent paranoia and anti-Catholicism views. Alamo claims the Vatican controls the American White House, the United Nations and the media. His views have led (Alamo’s ministry) to be named as a ’hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

He also objected to sections of the suit that cited Alamo’s criminal record, saying “these references are almost certainly inadmissible at trial.” Likewise, Hall objected to the suit’s citation of the current criminal indictment against Alamo, which Hall said was “irrelevant to plaintiffs’ cause of action.”

In the separate filing over the weekend, Hall asked the court to dismiss a part of the suit that accused Alamo of civil conspiracy. Alamo’s lawyer said “a civil conspiracy is not a separate tort under Arkansas law.” A tort is a wrongful act.

- Source: Alamo lawyer seeks changes in federal suit in Arkansas, AP via the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Dec. 22, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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