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Supervisor files libel suit against Culpeper prosecutor

Culpeper County Supervisor Bill Chase has filed a $1.75 million libel suit against Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Frederick for accusations she made in a September email.

That email, meant as an endorsement for Supervisors Bradley Rosenberger and Larry Aylor, stated that both supervisors had supported her, an independent, in the 2012 special election at the cost of being thrown out of the Culpeper County Republican Committee.

In lauding their qualifications, she specifically referred to the board’s approval of a $1.5 million, new building for the sheriff’s offices in which Rosenberger and Aylor cast the only opposing votes.

“They lost this battle, due to incompetent and corrupt members of the Board,” she added.

That statement, which Frederick later said she stood behind, prompted the Board of Supervisors to file a complaint against Frederick with the Virginia Bar.

The allegations particularly incensed Chase, whose 32 years on the board is the longest tenure in county history.

Chase’s suit, filed late Monday, states that Frederick’s statements “each and jointly, constitute libel per se in that they impute that Plaintiff is dishonest and lacks integrity in performing the duties of his office and employment as a member of the Board of Supervisors.”

It adds that the statements “were made by defendant at a time when she knew or should have known such statements were false and were made with a deliberate and reckless disregard for the truth.”

In the original email, which was sent on or about Sept. 13, and which quickly went viral, Frederick specifically identifies herself as an elected official.

Chase, who is represented by two Richmond attorneys, is seeking a jury trial.

Donnie Johnston: