Jim Worthington is, once again, claiming to be an innocent victim.
In a recent lawsuit filed in Bucks County, the Newtown man and owner of the Newtown Athletic Club said he’s a blameless victim and is being unfairly attacked by Ashley Ehasz, a Democrat running against Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in the race to represent PA01. The suit, filed by attorney, Geoffrey P. Johnson, says Worthington, who founded People4Trump, had nothing to do with renting the People4Trump buses that went to Washington on January 6, 2021 to hear then President Donald J. Trump make his final speech to his devoted followers. In the lawsuit, found here, Worthington alleges he was slandered, defamed, and libeled by Ehasz. He claims that she has used her website, campaign materials and speeches to defame him.
The law firm representing Worthington is a giant in defending politicians who have been defamed, and its principle has addressed the Philadelphia Bar Association Bench Bar Conference on SLAPP lawsuits. SLAPP stands for a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation and is central to First Amendment rights of free speech, especially against public figures. Worthington is asking $50,000 in real damages and punitive damages.
Ehasz has responded by asking Helen Lawless from Kline & Specter and Daniel Ceisler from Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky to defend her. Both will be working pro bono, and believe other lawyers will join their team. Ceisler’s defense of Ehasz is that everything she has said “is fundamentally true.”
“Jim Worthington sponsored and organized a trip to the Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally,’” Ceisler said.
The result hinges on whether January 6 could be termed an insurrection or a riot, a distinction that Lawless and Ceisler feel is important to their case, and whether Worthington is a public figure or perhaps a “private figure” criticized on matters of “public concern.”
Worthington has sued another person for defamation over the January 6 riot or insurrection. Greg Bullough started a petition on Moveon.org that stated “Newtown Athletic Club in Pennsylvania’s owner sponsored and organized three bus-loads of people to participate in what became the January 6th shameful riot and insurgency in Washington DC,” and urged organizations to cut their ties to the NAC.
Bullough was sued by Worthington a year ago.