AZ Supreme Court sides with Wendy Rogers in campaign ad lawsuit

By Greg Hahne
Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2022 - 10:57am
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The Arizona Supreme Court ruled an attack ad aired from state Sen. Wendy Rogers during a congressional primary race is protected by the First Amendment. 

Rogers was sued after running in ad in 2018 that claimed her opponent Steve Smith worked at a modeling agency that specialized in underage girls and advertised on websites linked to sex trafficking. 

Pamela Young, who owned the modeling agency mentioned in the ad but wasn’t specifically named, sued Wendy Rogers for defamation, saying the ad falsely implied the agency was involved in trafficking.

The 4-3 ruling sided with Rogers, arguing if the suit could go forward to a jury, it would inevitably and intolerably chill political speech. 

In a dissenting opinion, Vice Chief Justice Ann Scott Timmer said that view weaponizes the First Amendment.