On cowards and bullies and sleeping watchdogs

Commentary by Michael Weisel

Pat McCrory is trying to have it both ways and he seems to be getting away with a monstrous act of hypocrisy.

On May 24th, McCrory’s campaign lawyers filed a lawsuit against N.C. Citizens for Progress for making false statements about McCrory in a television ad. In the previous six days, McCrory’s lawyers filed an FCC complaint and relentlessly threatened TV stations to take down the ad or face litigation. McCrory was indignant. N.C. news outlets dutifully reported his indignation.

The same day, N.C. Citizens called McCrory’s bluff, filing a complaint in court asking that its ad be declared true and lawful. The bully McCrory went limp. His lawyers must have wet their pants when it dawned on them that McCrory would actually have to answer questions under oath about his business dealings.

So Team McCrory attempted to slither out of the lawsuit – to avoid putting the would-be governor under oath to answer questions.

The richest irony is that McCrory’s barristers this week accused N.C. Citizens for Progress of abusing the court system. This from the legal team who used lawsuits as a threat in the first place and then filed a lawsuit that Team McCrory used as a political tactic to discredit the ad?

To be clear, N.C. Citizens would never have gone to court had it not been for McCrory’s lawsuit.

None of this should be a surprise to N.C. journalists. If it sounds familiar, it’s because McCrory’s lawyers used this same intimidation tactic in 2008 - effectively.

This latest attempt at intimidation didn’t work on N.C. Citizens for Progress. But it must have worked on N.C. news media, which by and large have ignored this story. It’s not too late to set the record straight. Readers and viewers deserve it.

And here's your treasure trove of relevant legal documents.