A lawyer suing a man accused of rape in the US state of California has warned that the man’s legal team is preparing a defamation action to remove the defamation claim, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The lawyer, Matthew Ahern, has been seeking to have a judge throw out a defamation claim filed by a former client against a former colleague of Ahern’s in an effort to “damage his reputation”, according to the Times.
It is the latest development in a case involving a former California lawyer who was fired from his job over a case of sexual harassment, after he accused a colleague of raping her.
In August, a judge dismissed Ahern from his lawsuit against the former colleague, alleging the lawsuit “has no merit” and was “an attempt to damage Ahern and discredit his professional reputation”.
“We are preparing a legal action in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, to remove a defamation complaint filed against us by a defendant named Matthew A. Ahern,” Ahern told the Los.
“This is the first defamation lawsuit in which Mr Ahern has asserted that his reputation has been damaged and is seeking damages for defamation.”
In court papers, the former law student’s lawyer, Daniel A. Zielinski, said he believed Ahern was preparing a lawsuit in the district court, because Ahern had a “standing to bring it” and the complaint had been “made under duress”.
“The defendant has the right to bring a lawsuit,” Zielinksi said.
“I do not believe that Mr Ahan is the target of a malicious, baseless, or maliciously defamatory lawsuit.”
Ahern is facing a defamation lawsuit by another former law firm partner who accused him of raping and sexually assaulting her in 2008, but Ahern won the case and was fired by his former employer, Katten Muchin Rosenman & Schreck in 2015.
The California attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said last year that he would investigate the defamation claims against Ahern.
In his response to Ahern on Friday, Becerras lawyer, Mark Zweig, argued that Ahern should not have filed the lawsuit because it was a “misleading and defamative” attempt to discredit him.
“It’s not a matter of whether Mr Ahen’s reputation has suffered.
It’s a matter if Mr Ahearns reputation has, in fact, suffered,” Zweigs statement read.
“The complaint made by the plaintiff was made in a way that would have been difficult to substantiate in the ordinary course of events.”