By Miriam Raftery
January 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – Attorney Stephen J. Liosi has filed a motion on behalf of El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho asking the Superior Court to set aside a December ruling that dismissed Kalasho’s countersuit against plaintiffs who are suing him, including two contestants in a beauty pageant he ran and a taco shop owner.
The filing contends that Liosi failed to file documents in Kalasho’s defense, due to Liosi suffering a “traumatic brain injury” after his head struck the windshield in a vehicle accident in 2016. The motion states that Kalasho has now secured new counsel.
In an email to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Kalasho wrote, “The judge had to rule to dismiss due to the lack of opposition,” adding, “Our new retained counsel is ready to take over the case and is confident that we will prevail in court and we look forward to trial.”
The pageant contestants and taco shop owner’s lawsuit alleges that Kalasho engaged in abusive behavior including sexual misconduct, fraud, defamation and cyber-harassment. Kalasho has denied the allegations.
As ECM previously reported, Judge Timothy Taylor dismissed the countersuit filed by Kalasho against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner who are suing Kalasho on serious allegations of abusive behavior including sexual misconduct, fraud, defamation, and cyberharassment.
In dismissing the countersuit filed by Kalasho, a public figure, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor found that it met the definition of a SLAPP suit meant to intimidate individuals’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. SLAPP suits are illegal under California law. The judge affirmed that the plaintiffs have a right to redress their grievances against Kalasho in a court of law and to speak about their grievances in the media.
Jimmie Parker, the attorney representing the plaintiffs suing Kalasho, issued a statement after Kalasho’s suit was dismissed. He stated this his clients’ anti-SLAPP motion provided the Court with “overwhelming evidence from Cox Communications, ATT, Facebook and Instagram that the posts defaming and harassing my clients using pseudonyms (including the publication of falsified nudes of Ms. Zhala Tawfiq) originated from the Councilman and/or his cohort's residences.”
He called Kalasho’s SLAPP suit “frivolous and retaliatory” adding“ We will continue to litigate this matter in Court in order to bring justice to the victims of the Councilman's outrageous and disturbing conduct.” The case is expected to be heard in court in August.