Blue Hog Report’s Matt Campbell has posted a story
n which he has a direct connection as a lawyer in a defamation lawsuit filed in North Carolina against state Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs) for saying publicly in a statement preserved on video that Marine Capt. Thomas Watts had killed her daughter and his wife, Tara, who died in 2016 at the age of 29.

The medical examiner and a succession of investigations, some encouraged by Rushing, concluded repeatedly that Tara Watts had died of natural causes — pneumonia complicated by a liver condition. Rushing apparently never accepted the finding. She also instigated a complaint against Watts over the treatment of his new wife and her grandchild, also found to be unfounded according to Campbell. In Campbell’s account, Rushing pressured a sheriff, legislators and the government in her efforts against Watts.

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Rushing’s comment on Watts was made in February to a Republican group as she talked about her effort to win visitation rights for grandparents. She complained he’d killed her daughter and didn’t want her to see her grandchildren. Writes Campbell:

Rushing’s statement is, of course, patently false. She knows this.

Capt. Thomas Watts has had enough of Laurie Rushing’s lies, enough of her defamatory comments. That is why, earlier this week, I, in conjunction with lawyers in North Carolina, filed a lawsuit on Capt. Watts’ behalf against Rushing in Craven County, North Carolina.

The case was filed last week. It asks for damages for defamation and inflicting emotional distress in excess of $25,000 and also seeks punitive damages.

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Readers may remember that Blue Hog Report has written before about Rushing, in the context of her involvement with another legislator and their two divorce cases. Rushing faces a Republican primary opponent next week, Ernie Hinz.

I’ve left phone and email messages with Rushing asking for comment.

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UPDATE: Monday, May 21, I received this response from Rushing:

My attorney will make an official statement later this week on behalf of myself, Cliff Rushing, Kevin Rushing, Lorna Nobles, and John & Missy Gibson.