By FITSNews || Phone records, text messages, emails, voice mails … these are the identifying markers of any love affair, and ground zero when it comes to any “he said, she said” battle in civil or criminal court.
Well … we’ve got the ultimate “he said, she said” battle on our hands in South Carolina, where bad boy blogger Will Folks (our founding editor) has been called to the carpet following his forced admission of a vexingly vague “inappropriate physical relationship” with S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley, the front-runner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Now all we need is a courtroom.
Not only has Haley denied Folks’ claim (which he says was made under duress), she’s gone on the radio and basically accused him of taking money to attack her (ouch). Of course, in another bizarre rumor making the rounds, some are speculating that Folks and Haley actually ginned the whole thing up together in an effort to get ahead of the story.
No kidding! (That’s actually the spin coming out of the S.C. State House).
Still other rumors claim that our website has simply decided to – in Sarah Palin’s words – “make things up” in an effort to punk the mainstream media, which we have to admit sounds like it would be a lot of fun.
Obviously, though, this wasn’t the way that this story was supposed to unfold. We’ve been longtime Haley backers here at FITS, and we thought that our years of consistent advocacy on her behalf (and on behalf of the fiscally conservative ideals she represents) might count for something as this unfortunate tale unfolded.
It clearly didn’t.
Of course, as our founding editor correctly noted in his mea culpa this morning, “no matter what I do, I will be end up being smeared in some form or fashion by someone.” Boy did he ever get that right.
Team Haley (led by Sanford consultant Jon Lerner) went on the warpath against Sic in a big, big way – using every tool at its disposal in a day-long effort to debunk his claim and undermine his credibility. And based on the comments we’ve been reading today – it worked.
Here are just a few of our favorites …
“this guy is a scumbag he got kicked out of south carolina for being the ass hole he is he cant even get a piece of ass so he has to say he f*cked nikki haley go to hell you mother f*cker.”
“You are pathetic and are tied to the destructive forces which have stunted South Carolinas’ ability for progress.”
“You’re a classless piece of shit.”
“A desperate, immature, person will do whatever it takes to get attention. Will Folks is desperate in so many ways, this is probably just the beginning. Why is anyone listenig to this gutter slut.”
Yeah … this is what we got hit with today (all day) despite the since-confirmed fact that other news outlets were indeed chasing the story (as we said), and despite the fact that Sic Willie spent considerable time over the past two weeks keeping the Haley campaign (including the candidate herself) abreast of each new development in the ongoing effort by Haley’s rivals to break this story into the mainstream media.
So who’s telling the truth here? And who’s lying?
Well, prior to publishing his preemptive missive Monday morning, it turns out our founding editor also took a few preemptive legal steps just in case things “went South.” After all, even in those instances in which publishing something is not the path we would have chosen to take (and trust us, this was the last thing we ever wanted to write), it is important to protect oneself from litigation.
But that’s just the thing – we haven’t been sued over this claim, by Haley or anyone else.
Seriously, while the Internets were ablaze with people calling Sic a liar (and an ugly one at that), our lawyers were sitting around all day, twiddling their thumbs, just waiting on the phone to ring … but nothing.
Aren’t there libel and defamation laws that protect public officials from fabricated claims? Sure there are. And while there are obviously higher standards involved when it comes to proving defamation of a public figure (see Times v. Sullivan), even elected officials can recover damages in the event it is proven that they were defamed with “reckless disregard for the truth.”
Bottom line? You really can’t just “make things up.”
So … why isn’t Nikki suing us?
After all, our founding editor made a flat out definitive statement: “Several years ago, prior to my marriage, I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki.”
The fact that he said that defensively – in an effort to protect his family – doesn’t change the fact there was no “allegedly,” “reportedly,” “according to” or “sources say” about it. It was an unambiguous, declarative statement, the sort of unambiguous, declarative statement that could land a man in a lot of trouble were it proven to be “categorically false,” as Haley claims that it is.
But not only has there been no lawsuit filed (or threatened), the Haley campaign has yet to even request the removal of our so-called “categorically false” post, or issue a demand for its retraction.
Again … “hmmmmm.”
One reason for Team Haley’s reticence to call for the post’s removal or pursue a legal remedy against our founding editor could be that Nikki Haley and Will Folks both use Verizon Wireless for their personal cell phone service, and that any legal motion that’s filed would undoubtedly result in the publication of a flood of phone records, text messages, emails, voicemails and other data exchanges between the two protagonists in this unfolding drama.
And Haley, it should be noted, is a prodigious “texter.” She even refers to herself as the “Texting Queen,” a reference to her favorite band, Abba.
So … what would several years worth of phone records, text messages, emails and voice mails between Will Folks and Nikki Haley look/ read like?
And will we ever get to see that voluminous record of correspondence?
All we can tell you for now is that the record of correspondence between the two of them began on November 20, 2005 – with an email sent at 8:33 a.m. from Haley’s State House email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to Will Folks’ personal address (email@example.com) in which Haley complimented Folks on an article he had written praising her gubernatorial ambitions.
We know … how ironic is that?
That four-and-a-half year record of correspondence ended on Saturday, May 22, 2010 – three days ago – with a text message sent from Folks’ cell phone to Haley’s cell phone at 1:04 p.m. alerting her to the fact that he had been placed in a position where he felt that he had no choice but to address the rumors regarding their relationship on his website.
Those are the bookends … but what happened in the interim?
A lot … stay tuned …