12/22/08 – Alamo’s lawyer seeks changes in civil suit

Arkansas News
December 22, 2008

Alamo lawyer seeks changes in federal suit

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — 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 Ondrisek, 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.

In a filing last week, Hall objected to language used in the civil suit, citing federal court rules that allow a judge to delete from a suit “any redundant, immaterial, impertinent or scandalous material.”

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.”

Hall posed a question about that passage: “What possible relevance is any of this to the allegations of the complaint?”

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.

In: 2000-2007

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