Governor J.B. Pritzker faces a summons to Sangamon County Court to answer a defamation allegation.
Attorney Thomas DeVore, who has filed multiple lawsuits against the governor over COVID-19 vaccine mandates in schools and businesses, sued Pritzker late last month, claiming defamation over this comment made during a news conference on October 21st: “He’s a grifter who is taking money from parents who are being taken advantage of. We are trying to keep kids, and parents, and grandparents, and teachers, and everybody that’s in the community of the school safe. That’s my job as governor. That’s our job as elected officials. And, I have to say that going around and suing school districts, and the governor, and the attorney general, and everybody else in order to keep people less safe – that makes zero sense to me. So, we are going to push back as hard as we can. Certainly, you know, we’ll be in court…You don’t want to spend all of your time doing this. There are an awful lot of things that the Attorney General’s Office does to protect consumers out there, but the more you have to send lawyers out to fight these ridiculous lawsuits that are frankly, making people less safe; the less you can do to really lift up the entire state. So, I hope the reign of grifting and terror that he is trying to bring about in these school districts will come to an end.”
The lawsuit was filed in Sangamon County Oct. 29 by DeVore attorney Brian Polinske claiming the governor’s comment last month “constitute the commission of a tortious act.” Pritzker’s October 21st comments stem from a lawsuit filed in Macoupin County Court on behalf of more than 700 parents against 145 school districts, the governor and the Illinois State Board of Education over the state’s ongoing COVID-19 mandates for masks and required vaccinations for teachers.
DeVore is seeking judgment in his favor on the defamation suit, and an award of damages in excess of $50,000. A hearing in the case is yet to be scheduled.
According to a report from Capitol Fax, the lawsuit may likely be thrown out due to an Illinois Supreme Court ruling Blair v. Walker in 1976 in which the court ruled that “the Governor is protected from actions for civil defamation by an absolute privilege when issuing statements which are legitimately related to matters committed to his responsibility.”
A demand for a jury trial has been filed by DeVore’s attorney in the case.