The notice, filed by attorney Vicki A. R. Lopez of the Chandler-based law firm of Marc J. Victor, PC, claims that supervisors, as well as other county officials including County Manager Ron Walker, caused the Zannas undue emotional distress and damaged their standing in the community through a series of public statements and letters to local newspapers that compared Luca Zanna to "Hanoi Jane" Fonda and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
"The county has violated the Zannas' constitutional rights," Lopez said. "We further allege they have damaged Mr. Zanna's reputation in the community by slanderous and libelous actions."
Those actions followed Zanna's claim that the county violated his first amendment rights when, on Nov. 13, Zanna was instructed by District III Supervisor Buster Johnson to stop handing out fliers describing Sen. John McCain's voting record at a County Administration Building town hall forum where McCain's supporters and staff were allowed to hand out their own fliers and register voters.
County Attorney Bill Ekstrom has since held that the County Administration Building is not a forum for constitutionally protected free speech, but Lopez has argued that, by allowing McCain and his supporters to speak, the county inadvertently made it just that.
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