- Associated Press - Friday, June 29, 2018

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Latest on a Kentucky Appeals Court overturning a $200,000 defamation verdict awarded to a Republican state senator (all times local):

2:47 p.m.

A Republican state senator says he will ask the state Supreme Court to restore a $200,000 defamation judgment against his former Democratic opponent.

A jury in 2016 ordered former Democratic Sen. R.J. Palmer to pay Sen. Ralph Alvarado $200,000 in damages for knowingly paying for a defamatory TV ad. But a Kentucky Appeals Court overturned that decision on Friday, ruling the ad was accurate and protected by the First Amendment.

Alvarado said he was surprised the judges would overturn a unanimous jury verdict. Civil cases do not require a jury be unanimous. Alvarado said the ad damaged his reputation and the court was incorrect to overturn the ruling.

The Kentucky Supreme Court will only hear the case if a majority of justices agree.


12:34 p.m.

A Kentucky Appeals Court has thrown out a $200,000 defamation verdict a jury had awarded to a Republican state senator over a political ad his Democratic opponent ran against him in 2014.

R.J. Palmer is the former Democratic leader in the Kentucky Senate. He lost to Republican Ralph Alvarado in 2014. Alvarado is a medical doctor. Palmer aired a TV ad that used courtroom footage to imply Alvarado was getting rich from the opioid epidemic.

The courtroom footage was altered. But a three-judge panel ruled the alterations did not change the meaning of the hearing. Also, it said the ad was political speech protected by the First Amendment.

Alvarado did not answer a phone call seeking comment.

Palmer’s attorney said he was “gratified” and said the judges made the correct decision.

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