Tímoþi Asmourescu, who was briefly Attorney-General, has filed a civil suit against Beric'ht Talossan, reporter Munditenens Tresplet, and editor Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, UrN, (who is also the author of this article), alleging that they "engaged in a campaign to smear the professional image" of Asmourescu.  Upset over what he received as unfair treatment both in public discourse and in the pages of this publication, Asmourescu has demanded a public apology, a printed retraction, and monetary fine.  The paper has stated that there is no merit to the charges, pointing out that the presiding Magistrate Edwards has already dismissed some of them, and has vowed that they will fight a move that they view as an attempt at intimidation.

The background of the case is complex.  Most immediately, it derives from a public confrontation in late February between Davinescu, who is also a Member of Cosa, and Asmourescu, who had very recently been appointed Attorney-General.   Davinescu had asked the new minister a question regarding T.M. Asmourescu (pro se) versus The Chancery, a case that had been pending before the Cort Pü Inalt after an initial injunction.  Davinescu was concerned about an apparent conflict of interest, since it did not seem as though Asmourescu could objectively decide whether or not the Ministry of Justice would assist the Chancery in defending against Asmourescu's own suit.

Asmourescu vigorously defended his judgment, writing at length to describe why he didn't recuse himself in the decision and seek an outside opinion, suggesting that the outcome of the case - his own victory - had been perfectly satisfactory.  "[M]y opinion of the matter," Asmourescu wrote, " is that it is closed unless the Chancery chooses to bring further action. And even if they do they are free to choose their own counsel or argue the matter themselves."

In response, Davinescu challenged Asmourescu's legal conclusions and stated that it was "inappropriate" for Asmourescu to make a decision about his own case, once more proposing that the Attorney-General recuse himself and allow an outside opinion.  Fierce debate ensued.  Afterwards, Asmourescu relates that "[t]he appearance of such a conflict created doubt in the mind of the political cabinet that [his] assessment had been correct."  The Seneschal, by Asmourescu's account, asked him to appoint a special prosecutor to give an outside opinion on the matter, overruling his Attorney-General and bowing to the apparent conflict of interest.  Upset, Asmourescu resigned in a private email to Seneschal da Dhi.

Blaming Davinescu for his downfall, within minutes Asmourescu  sent an email to the Member of Cosa, excoriating him in vulgar language and in the harshest terms.

"I resigned as AG this morning to allow the office to represent the chancery because of your opposition joined by Cresti. I hope you are happy. You've won," Asmourescu wrote, adding that he had always disliked Davinescu, never wished to speak to him again, and had already blocked any potential replies.  While much of the language used is not suitable for publication, it included a variety of invective phrased in the strongest terms.

Not willing to take Asmourescu on his word, seeing no public resignation or announcement, and also believing that no reply emails would be received, Davinescu replied on the same Terpaluziun thread.  He scolded Asmourescu for behavior unbecoming a public official (or indeed, anyone):  "S:reu Attorney-General, the appropriate response to very legitimate and polite public questioning is absolutely not a personal e-mail to a Member of the Cosa, filled with profanity and personal insults."

Asmourescu, who had just resigned after one of the shortest times in office of any Cabinet member, was perhaps understandably angry and responded with a second email laced with even more profanity.  Neither of Asmourescu's emails are suitable for publication, but the full text - and the anger on display - may be found in the public filing of the lawsuit.

In early March, a couple of weeks later, Davinescu launched Beric'ht Talossan.  The first cover story, written by Munditenens Tresplet (a named defendent in the suit), reviewed the events of February in detail.  Asmourescu was interviewed for the story by Tresplet, who wrote to Asmourescu and introduced his purpose, clearly stating that, "I was brought on to write an article for an upcoming weekly in Talossa regarding your recent term as Attorney General," although not identifying the editor of the upcoming weekly.

The resulting article may be read in our first issue.  It was intended to be scrupulously fair, carefully seeking extensive comment from Asmourescu and written by a third party.  Wishing to safeguard Asmourescu's privacy and what was left of his reputation, Davinescu even refused to release the abusive emails.

Such care proved to be insufficient, as the recent lawsuit shows.  In the suit, Asmourescu lists numerous issues, but his central grievance is that Davinescu publicized the matter, announcing the existence of the vulgar correspondence and embarrassing the former Attorney-General by "tarnishing his career," even though Asmourescu had just resigned his office.  In Asmourescu's opinion, Davinescu had chosen "to 'call out' a private citizen within the chambers of the Ziu" in order to capitalize on the scandal.  Asmourescu's suit names not only the incident, but also the Beric'ht Talossan description of it in Tresplet's article, which Asmourescu alleges was obtained under false pretenses.

The text of the complaint is emotional, using inflammatory language such as "spew forth falsehood."  In an odd choice, Davinescu is consistently referred to as "Defendant AD," while Asmourescu refers himself only as "Admiral Asmourescu," a reference to his title as a retired naval officer.

   Rather than take this personal email at face value, Defendant AD chose to publicly speak of it referring to it as “abuse” and repeatedly and unabashedly using it to tarnish the career of Admiral Asmourescu
 by attempting to associate it to his career in public service.
   Defendant AD was right to feel insulted since the email by Admiral Asmourescu was clearly designed to insult. However,  Defendant AD had no justification for twisting the content of the email to appear to be a professional assault when it was clearly personal or to launch his counterattack within the chambers of the Cosa standing up as a Member of the Cosa to give weight to his response.
   Admiral Asmourescu violated no laws in sending a personal email, no matter how scathing.  Defendant AD, however, presented opinion as fact using doubt as his only defence. And when he runs short of doubt; when he is clearly aware of the factual circumstances of the situation, he merely continues to spew forth falsehood in an attempt to injure.

After the suit was filed, the claims against Munditenens Tresplet were rejected by presiding Magistrate Owen Edwards, who stated that they amounted to either style or insinuation, and that both were well within the reporter's right to use.  Beric'ht Talossan and Davinescu, jointly defending, retained Sir C. M. Siervicül as attorney.  Siervicül, in addition to writing for the paper, is also a registered attorney and a former Justice.

The defence has stated that they are very confident about the outcome, speculating that the charges stemmed more from the personal animosity of the plaintiff, as expressed at such length in the scandal-driving emails, than from any legal basis. They also point to the recent cort case of Marcianüs v Davinescu et al, where Asmourescu has demonstrated considerable animosity as Marcianüs' counsel.  Asmourescu took obvious umbrage at what Asmourescu, a former Puisne Justice, calls a lack of reading comprehension and poor decorum, even repeatedly hinting at an improper relationship between Davinescu and the presiding magistrate.

The Talossan Press Association, of which Beric'ht Talossan is an affiliate, has decided not to support the paper's case with either legal assistance or a public statement, says new leader Sevastáin Pinátsch.  When asked about the decision,  Pinátsch issued a statement: "The Talossan Press Association cannot condone S:reu Davinescu's decision to publicly disclose private correspondence and portray a personal dispute conducted through informal channels as official communications with the former Attorney-General."

Whatever happens in the proceedings, Asmourescu's career has proceeded apace.  Since the initial Beric'ht story, he has formed the political party that he promised, which he has called the Talossan Workers Party.  While it is yet unregistered, it was received with considerable acclaim even from other partisans thanks to its avowed goal of fighting for the rights of Talossan workers as a blend of political party and labor union.  Asmourescu is the only confirmed member, but there was significant interest at the new party's launch. 


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