Councilman's countersuit demands $10 million

CHARLESTON - The Nitro City councilman alleged to have used a fellow councilman's identity to e-mail a sexually explicit photograph of himself has filed a $10 million counterclaim against his accuser. Tim Harrison and his attorney, Michael Clifford, filed the answer and counterclaim Nov. 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court, a mere six days after William Clark filed the lawsuit against Harrison. Harrison denies any wrongdoing and says Clark has had it out for him. "Since Sept. 2006, in Kanawha County, West Virginia and elsewhere, the plaintiff, in concert and/or conspiracy with other persons not yet known to this defendant for which leave is here prayed to amend to add additional third-party defendants, has undertaken a campaign to slander, libel, defame and/or otherwise impugn the character, reputation and integrity of this defendant, has published said libel and slander to the media and elsewhere for the sole purpose as aforesaid, some of which accusations accuse this defendant of the commission of cries, which is libelous and/or slanderous, per se," the reponse says. It also says Harrison is entitled to $10 million in general and special damages and "a like amount in punitive damages." The response demands a production of evidence to support Clark's claims. Clark filed his lawsuit Nov. 21against Harrison, who is hoping to hold onto his seat in the council despite the allegations. Harrison's problems started when Mitzy Ross claimed Harrison and another woman engaged in sexually explicit conversations online. She added that he sent a nude photo of himself using Clark's name. The City Council voted 5-2 to take steps to remove him from his position. "In or around September 2006, Plaintiff was notified by a friend that e-mails and/or instant message correspondence was being received by her niece from an individual identifying himself as the plaintiff," the complaint says. "Upon investigation, including the review of the photographs sent, it was determined that Defendant had, in fact, been using Plaintiff's identity for purposes of carrying on lewd and obscene conversations over the Internet." Clark says he is entitled to punitive damages and that his reputation has been damaged by the "negligent and intentional theft, misuse and misappropriation of Plaintiff's identity." Martin Smith of Smith Law Offices in Cross Lanes is representing Clark. Judge Irene Berger has been assigned the case. Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2506

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