Deposition held in Driver libel case

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Two year later

By Stan Welch

More than two years after Doreen Montepara filed a lawsuit against WAIM 1230 AM radio station owner Rick Driver, Driver was finally deposed Tuesday afternoon.

Driver, a conservative talk show host and station owner, is being sued for libel by Montepara, along with political gadfly and three time County Council candidate Rick Freemantle and Stan Welch, who once had a show on Driver’s station and who reports for The Journal.

The case apparently centers around claims that Montepara, who was named Keefe at the time of the incident that led to the charges, was disciplined for administering the wrong medications to a patient, resulting in near death. According to Montepara, it was another Doreen Keefe, who was also a medical care provider in Connecticut at the same time, who was stripped of her license, and not Montepara.

Montepara’s attorney Candy Kern Fuller, claims that Driver, Freemantle and Welch knowingly and with reckless malice, published the information on the air and on the internet. She also alleges that one or all produced a flier addressing the charges against Keefe and distributed them by placing them under the windshield wipers of cars parked around the historic courthouse during a County Council meeting.

Kern Fuller, who has represented Montepara and her husband Michael in various lawsuits filed against Anderson County, as well as representing former county administrator JoeyPreston in several cases, spent much of the hour seeking to learn the identity of various posters on blog sites in the area.

She also sought to learn who originally discovered and distributed Montepara’s extensive criminal record. Driver took that opportunity to state that Montepara’s record was so extensive that she was effectively unable to be libeled, since her reputation was such that it could not be damaged. Kern Fuller countered that it was up to a jury to determine that.

Driver also stated that he didn’t think Montepara had been slandered. “What are the odds of two women with the same name in the same state being in the same line of work,” he asked. “No one is making up lies about anyone.”

Driver conceded that he has discussed the lawsuit on his drive time morning show and said he did so because the lawsuit is “frivolous, beyond a doubt.”

When asked about an e-mail he read on the air which stated that the Monteparas were not interested in getting rid of drugs in their Homeland Park neighborhood, but only in getting rid of the competition, Driver defended his airing of the e-mail. “Radio is the theater of the mind. These things are usually said tongue in cheek. Apparently, you take things very seriously.”

Following the deposition, Driver’s attorney, Charles R. Griffin, said that he was pleased with how it went. “Mr. Driver answered the questions honestly and effectively. I think things went quite well. I just think we’re all ready for this to get over with.”

Griffin also represents Freemantle, while Welch is represented by Williamston attorney and former judge Jimmy Cox.

The deposition lasted approximately an hour. A second deposition, that of Rick Freemantle, was postponed due to a family matter.