Last week, Keystone Politics reported that 12th District Congressional candidate John Hugya’s campaign spokesman Michael Duga had a checkered political history. Now, he’s threatening to sue Keystone Politics, follow Jon and I “our entire career,” and “be at every legal step” to prevent me from being admitted to the Pennsylvania bar.
In the original article about Duga, Keystone Politics cited to reports from The Boston Globe and the Martha’s Vineyard Gazette describing Duga’s actions at a 2007 fundraiser for John Edwards in which he snuck in, absconded with personal items, and was arrested the next day after entering National Guard property.
Multiple news sources reported that Duga was in a stolen car and possessed drugs at the time. Other news sources reported that he later plead guilty to trespass.
For example, the Sun-Sentinel reported that “Duga also was charged with larceny and marijuana possession, but those charges were dropped with Friday’s plea, his attorney Al Daniels said. He was sentenced to a year of probation.”
Other news articles asserted that Duga had been arrested multiple times before for a variety of other offenses.
For example, the Associated Press reported that “Duga was suspended by [his former employer Senator Max] Cleland after the event and later fired. Cleland, a Democratic from Georgia, said he hadn’t been aware of Duga’s past criminal record, including drug possession charges.”
On Sunday, Duga sent Keystone Politics editor Jon Geeting a message via LinkedIn threatening to take Keystone Politics to court.
Jon then asked Duga whether I had gotten any facts wrong, and offered to issue a correction if there was a factual mistake. In response to Jon, Duga then threatened to “follow you and Jake your entire career.”
Multiple sources dispute Duga’s assertion. An Edwards campaign official told the Vineyard Gazette that “Mr. Duga is not – nor has he ever – been affiliated with the Edwards campaign.” Furthermore, The Houston Chronicle reported that “Duga has an ‘extensive criminal history’ in Florida, including carjacking and drug possession and dealing, according to police.”
Duga then sent another message to Jon saying that he knows that I am a law student, and he then threatened to “be at every legal step to ensure that [Jake] is not allowed to be an Officer of the Court.”
This is not the first time Duga has threatened to sue a news organization.
In 2010, Politico reported that Duga brought suit against the Vineyard Gazette and The Boston Globe for defamation. Duga also sued the individual reporters who wrote the stories, and he asked for $5 million in damages.
Keystone Politics was unable to find a case docket, and it is unclear whether the case ever made it to court.
Duga’s employer, John Hugya, is running against Erin McClelland in the Democratic primary. The winner of that race will go on to face the victor of the Republican primary between Congressman Keith Rothfus and Johnstown businessman Larry Stiles.