Court Awards State Judge $105,000 In Libel Case

Jurors say a state Senate candidate's volunteer libeled a North Carolina judge who backed his opponent in the 2010 Republican primary.

A Brunswick County jury on Friday found Edward Rapp guilty of libel and awarded $105,000 in damages to Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.

Lewis supported Bill Rabon of Brunswick County in the GOP primary. Rabon was later elected to the state Senate.

Rapp was an unpaid volunteer for Rabon's rival. Rapp wrote in a blog posting that Lewis's endorsement violated the state's judicial conduct code, something the judge's attorney said wasn't true.

Lewis sued Rapp in 2010. A trial judge said Rapp's posts were protected speech. But the state Court of Appeals last year sided with Lewis and said a jury should decide any monetary damages.

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