Jonah Bennet – National Security/Politics Reporter
A jury in Georgia awarded James Lyle a total of $833,000 Monday in his libel lawsuit against Lee Martin and the Tea Party Patriots.
The long-standing case came to end in Cherokee County, Ga., when the jury found the Tea Party Patriots and Martin defamed Lyle, who is the partner of Amy Kremer, the former chairman of Tea Party Express.
The case began in 2011 after allegations surfaced that Martin made defamatory Facebook posts about Lyle under the pseudonym “Dale Butterworth,” stating essentially that Lyle molested the child of Amy Kremer, his girlfriend.
That molestation, it turns out, never took place. But what did take place before the accusations aired publicly on Facebook was intense interpersonal drama in the Tea Party Patriots, an organization that was initially founded by four individuals, among them Martin’s wife Jenny Beth Martin and Kremer.
In 2009, Kremer left the Tea Party Patriots and decided to align herself with a rival group called the Tea Party Express. Following the separation of Kremer from the Tea Party Patriots, Martin aka “Dale Butterworth” made a post alleging Lyle molested Kremer’s daughter.
“For seven years, both defendants stuck by the lie, never apologized to James Lyle and insisted that the post was true. It took all that time to finally clear his name, and he’s thrilled with the result,” Matt Maguire, Lyle’s attorney, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Kremer has separate lawsuits still open against both the Tea Party Patriots and Martin, which are likely to be heard late summer or fall.
“This litigation has been going on since 2011 and for reasons that will become obvious, we are evaluating our legal options,” Tea Party Patriots said in a statement. “Since this is on-going litigation, we will have no further comment on this matter.”
Martin’s lawyer, Ken Hodges, praised the work of Lyle’s attorneys but said future actions might be forthcoming.
“Mr. Matt Maguire and Jon Pope and did a good job presenting their case to the jury. Mr. Martin doesn’t agree with the jury verdict, and we’re weighing our options at this point,” Hodges told TheDCNF
It’s unclear whether there will be an appeal of the case.
Send tips to [email protected].