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Voted-out councilman sues winner's wife for blog posting

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A newly elected Yakima, Wash., city councilman and his blogger wife face a suit for defamation and false light brought…

A newly elected Yakima, Wash., city councilman and his blogger wife face a suit for defamation and false light brought by the councilmember’s former opponent.

Incumbent councilman Ron Bonlender sued Rick Ensey and his wife just one week after losing his seat in a hotly contested non-partisan election. Two days after the election, Ensey admitted that his wife authored InsideYakima.com, an anonymous blog that frequently criticized Bonlender and other Democrats leading up to the election.

The Web site has been offline since the day after the election.

In the post at the center of Bonlender’s suit, Diane Ensey, writing under the familiar pseudonym “Publius,” recounted a conversation alleging that Bonlender had been arrested multiple times for drunken driving but that the police, city managers and a local newspaper covered up the charges.

When it subsequently looked into the allegation, the paper found no record of any arrest.

Diane Ensey did not confirm or deny the allegations in the post, but asserted that publishing the rumor was payback for Bonlender drawing attention to his opponent’s previous drunk driving conviction in an unsuccessful 2006 run for state senate.