An Ozark man convicted by a federal jury on three felony cocaine dealing charges, filed a libel suit against the Springfield News-Leader today, indicating the newspaper had maligned his sterling character.
Judging by the content of Joseph L. Rainey's petition, filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the News-Leader was out to get him. "The Springfield News-Leader used its resources and public influence for the purpose of the defamatory libel and slander the same being published concerning plaintiff."
You might be able to tell that Rainey is representing himself in the action, using the same lawyer who helped him land convictions earlier this year on counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine, and intent to distribute cocaine.
Rainey claims the News-Leader article caused "unjustifiable prejudice, damages to his reputation amongst his family, friends and loved ones and most importantly damaging his relationship with and influence over his children."
Rainey says the News-Leader account features him committing crimes other than the ones for which he was convicted. The case had nothing to do with the large amounts of cocaine the News-Leader says he trafficked, Rainey pointed out. "In fact, the entire case consisted of 123 grams of cocaine base most of which was arbitrary and had no connection to the investigation itself."
Judging from the content of Rainey's petition, it would appear News-Leader reporter Thomas Bookstaver was using information from the public record in writing his article, which was published in June. Rainey is asking for "damages, fees, and costs."
Rainey, the same man whose reputation was allegedly besmirched in the News-Leader article, also pleaded guilty to five drug felonies in 2001 in Jackson County, according to court records, and was placed on probation.