Former Maryland GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik has filed a defamation suit against conservative commentator Candace Owens, seeking $20 million in damages after she said the pundit publicly made false allegations about her that cost her a book deal and other opportunities.
Klacik’s legal team alleged in the suit that Owens accused the former candidate of campaign fraud and of being a “madame” for a strip club, which led to Klacik losing a book deal and politicians pulling out of fundraising events with her, The Baltimore Sun reports.
Klacik has vehemently denied the claims in recent months and vowed to take the matter to court, saying Owens has “falsely” made the accusations.
“Baseless character assassination has no place in political dialogue‚” Jacob Frenkel, an attorney representing Klacik, told the Sun of the suit. “The defendant chose to use her huge social media platform to attack a respected Baltimore political figure; we are using the proper forum — the power of the courts — to respond. The detail in Ms. Klacik’s lawsuit speaks for itself.”
The suit reportedly stems from an Instagram video Owens posted in late June.
The newspaper reports that in the 44-minute clip, Owens accused the former candidate of running an illegitimate charity as well as “money laundering, tax fraud and campaign fraud.” Owens also reportedly alleged Klacik brings in strippers for a club she claimed her husband owns.
Owens acknowledged in the video that she is “not an investigative journalist” and couldn’t confirm the criminal allegations, the paper notes.
The suit reportedly said Klacik has made numerous efforts to get in touch with Owens to take down the video.
Klacik rose to prominence last year during her bid to fill the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFormer GOP congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik suing Candace Owens for defamation Former Cummings staffer unveils congressional bid McCarthy, GOP face a delicate dance on Jan. 6 committee MORE’s (D-Md.) congressional seat. She went viral at the time for a digital ad bashing Democratic Party leadership in Baltimore, saying then, “Black people don’t have to vote Democrat.”
She was backed by a number of prominent conservatives, including former President Trump, and brought in millions in fundraising, much of it from out of state, according to the Sun. However, she ultimately lost the election by more than 40 percentage points to now-Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume.