CARSON CITY — Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt’s campaign responded Thursday to a threat of a lawsuit levied by the lawyer of his opponent, promising not to back off of using claims that she says were defamatory.
Laura Fitzsimmons, Democratic candidate Steve Sisolak’s former attorney, sent a letter this past week demanding a retraction for what she called a “false and defamatory” statements from a television ad and a website targeting Sisolak.
The attorney for Laxalt’s campaign fired back Thursday, saying nothing in the ads is false or defamatory
“Make no mistake, the Laxalt campaign will not succumb to your threats and will not allow you to use intimidation to silence ‘uninhibited, robust, and wide-open’ debate,” wrote Jason Torchinsky, who has represented the Republican Party in several gerrymandering lawsuits.
And while Torchinsky stood by the campaign’s claims as true, Fitzsimmons maintains that many of them are wrong.
“Lawyers can fight and bluster all they want in letters. But the truth is that many of the claims that the Laxalt campaign has published about me are false, demonstrably false, and they are refusing to own up to it,” she said Thursday.
The ad at the center of the two letters focuses heavily on Fitzsimmons and government contracts she was awarded after Sisolak was elected to the Clark County Commission.
Fitzsimmons’ letter lays out several claims that she calls defamatory, including one that said Sisolak “took a multimillion-dollar payout from government funds, then gave the government contract worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to his personal attorney who helped him do it. That’s corrupt.”
Torchinsky’s letter argues that it is an “undisputed fact that Mr. Sisolak helped award you the Clark County contract after you helped him obtain his $21.4 million settlement from Clark County.”
Fitzsimmons said that Sisolak was not involved in awarding that contract.
“This wasn’t a retraction. It was an escalation,” Fitzsimmons said.