Bill Mitchell sets up defense fund
Tampa lawyer Bill Mitchell, who lost a bid for the 9th Congressional District seat to Republican incumbent Gus Bilirakis in November, has set up a legal defense fund to help fight a defamation lawsuit brought by his Democratic primary opponent, John Dicks.
During the primary campaign, Mitchell produced clients that Dicks represented in the 1980s and 1990s when the former Plant City mayor worked as a financial adviser. They claimed Dicks cheated them out of money. The disputes were settled through arbitration or in court, and Dicks denies any wrongdoing.
"The stakes are high," Mitchell said of the lawsuit in a release. "Political free speech is the bedrock or our political process and is protected by the First Amendment. The alleged defamatory statements are accurate and based on public records. I am confident the courts will vindicate the statements."
Will Van Sant, Times staff writer