Waxahachie Daily Light! You're on notice. Because when you get crossways with local firebrand Linda Lewis, protesters will march, media will descend, and comically high settlement demands will be made.
Kentucky Fried Chicken got a taste back in 2006. Lewis claimed she found baby cockroaches sprinkled over her chicken sandwich like so many wriggling capers. That will be $5 million, thank you. (KFC offered $5,000)
The stakes are higher this time. Her reputation, her very livelihood is in jeopardy. "They destroyed me," Lewis tells Unfair Park.
Here's what happened: A judge claimed she got rowdy in his Ellis County courtroom during her brother's criminal hearing. A scuffle broke out. Contempt charges and various misdemeanor and felony indictments followed. Both she and her daughter, Alicia, spent 180 days in jail.
And the Daily Light had the temerity -- the gall -- to print their less-than-glamorous mugshots alongside a story detailing the judge's charges. Right next to a story about an accused murderer's guilty plea, no less. "The malicious reprint of our book-in photos was defamation all in its own," her pro se complaint says. Worse, she claims nobody from the DL sought to interview her before a series of stories on their predicament were published.
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The stories were a pack of lies, Lewis claims: She never struggled with the bailiff, and her daughter never punched him like the judge said in his contempt filing. Just didn't happen. In fact, when she spoke to Unfair Park, she hinted at a conspiracy. The Daily Light, she posits, is in cahoots with local elected officials to suppress her story. (The paper's editor, Neal White, declined to comment. The reporter who wrote the stories, and the paper's publisher, didn't respond as of this posting.)
Eventually, the judge dismissed some of the misdemeanor charges against the two. The Daily Light ran the story on the front page, above the fold. But -- and here's the rub -- they didn't run the mugshots this time. "My thing is, they did it all those times when we were innocent," she says. "Why didn't you do it then? Put it up there when they showed it's dismissed."
"You can't truly relief all the severe emotional trauma that we have went through and continue to go through," she writes. "There are so many things that really traumatized us by the printing of our book-in photos and false articles in the Waxahachie Daily Light and its representatives that is beyond belief."
Some wounds go too deep, she seems to be saying. But here's a start: "I Linda Lewis am asking for recompense of 10,500,000. And I Alicia Lewis is asking for Recompense of 10,500,000."