McMullin seeks reschedule of deposition in lawsuit over attack ad

Oct 14, 2022, 12:24 PM | Updated: 4:11 pm

Evan McMullin will not show up to a deposition scheduled for the same day as his debate with Sen. M...

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Evan McMullin chats before a press conference about special interest groups running misleading ad campaigns against him at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for Evan McMullin argue a scheduling issue has them seeking to reschedule a deposition. It’s over a lawsuit where he says a conservative super PAC doctored his words.

The deposition is currently scheduled for the same day McMullin is set to hit the debate stage with Republican Sen. Mike Lee.

A scheduling conflict

McMullin’s lawyer, Bobby Harrington, says the deposition should take place on a day that works for all parties.

“We don’t think it’s a coincidence that Club for Growth Action wants to take Evan McMullin’s deposition on such short notice. And on the very day of his debate with Mike Lee,” said Harrington to KSL NewsRadio. “Our view is simply that the deposition should take place on a day that works for all the parties in this lawsuit. Not just the one that Club for Growth Action finds politically expedient.”

Harrington says he’s working with Club for Growth Action on finding a better date. 

“We had a nice back and forth and they understand that that date doesn’t work,” said Harrington. “There’s just a couple other pretty technical legal issues involved that, in our view, would impact the sequencing of when the deposition would take place. Part of that relates to the Club for Growth Action’s move to sever the lawsuit against the local stations.”

“We need some certainty on where that lawsuit is going to go, and have an understanding of which parties are going to be a part of this action before a deposition would be most meaningful.”

When asked for comment, Club for Growth Action said McMullin won’t give them another possible date.

“He’s refusing to do the deposition next week. He’s also refusing to give us a date for a future deposition. By ducking his requirement to testify, he’s avoiding questions about his accusations and past statements while also using Utah courts to censor the political debate,” said David McIntosh with Club for Growth Action.

Three television stations airing the ads have been named in the suit. Harrington says those stations have not responded to the suit, and therefore don’t have depositions scheduled yet.  He said they still have time to do so. 

“The stations still have a couple of weeks — at least — in which they can answer the complaint or respond otherwise. They haven’t yet done so, which is as expected,” said Harrington. “And we think it makes sense to hold the deposition after they’ve retained counsel, that counsel has appeared in the case, they’ve responded and we’re sort of all systems go.”

Club for Growth’s response

Club for Growth wants the lawsuit tossed because they say their ad is true. 

In a statement on their website Friday morning, the group said the McMullin campaign continues “to use the judicial system to censor political speech.

“Earlier this week, representatives from Club for Growth Action met with Evan McMullin’s lawyers where his lawyers made clear that McMullin would refuse to attend his Monday deposition, and the campaign would continue to use the judicial system to censor political speech.

“Evan McMullin thinks it’s the job of courts to cover-up his past personal attacks on conservatives, and he doesn’t even think he’s supposed to answer for the frivolous and absurd accusations against Club for Growth Action as well as Utah television stations,” said Club for Growth Action President David McIntosh. “Utah needs a principled and thoughtful politician like Mike Lee in this Senate seat, not a performance artist.”

Lindsay Aerts contributed to this article.


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McMullin seeks reschedule of deposition in lawsuit over attack ad