Al Gerhart, founder of the Sooner Tea Party, has filed a pair of lawsuits claiming a series of defamations from party leaders and staffers at the Oklahoma Republican Party headquarters.
The lawsuits(1, 2) were filed in Oklahoma County's district court and assigned to two different judges. Sooner Politics has obtained copies of the complaints and reached out to Gerhart for further insights about what precipitated the legal action.
Gerhart told us that he has reached out to the parties named in the suits but they have rebuffed his attempts to resolve these issues out of court. The complaints listed against the OKGOP says that a survey conducted by Gerhart, with the collaboration of other media and political consultants; was smeared by the party leadership as a 'malicious link' which could harm a computing device or load spyware of some sort. Gerhart says he notified the OKGOP Executive Director weeks ahead of the survey launch and agreed to share the survey results with Chairman Bennett's leadership team.
Evidently no motion was ever made to close the meeting, nor enter 'executive session'. He was just ordered out of the room or threatened with a trespassing charge. Gerhart posted a video of that eviction on Sooner Tea Party's website.
It's not clear whether more lawsuits have been or will be filed against others who distributed the anonymous attacks?
One of the more glaring inaccuracies in the unsourced attack claims that Gerhart is a convicted felon, guilty of blackmailing a State Senator. According to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, that complaint filed against Gerhart was ordered to be vacated because the court found that the prosecutors were indeed violating Gerhart's constitutional right to petition the legislature and seek redress of grievance. The court scolded the District Attorney, David Prater; for a gross violation of civil liberties.
Gerhart was nominated for the Defenders of Liberty award in 2016 because of his work to retain political freedoms against govt oppression. Former Reagan Administration Federal Prosecutor, Gary Richardson was part of Gerhart's legal team in that 2014 criminal charge. It stemmed from a State Senator using his dictatorial powers as a committee chair, to block a popular bill from getting a committee hearing and vote. Gerhart wrote to the politician and pledged that he would have to investigate his family and business connections to try to find out just what is motivating that senator to kill the popular bill without a vote. D.A. Prater equated a media investigation to blackmail.
Gerhart says an honest public servant should not feel that any investigation is threatening to his reputation. He went on to say that the senator's filing of a police complaint is almost an admission that he has something he want kept hidden.