Former Democratic Candidate for Governor Sues an Arkansas Senator for Libel

Former Democratic Candidate for Governor Sues an Arkansas Senator for Libel

Chris Jones (left), the Democratic candidate for governor of Arkansas in 2016, has sued Senate President Bart Hester (right) for libel.

Chris Jones, a former Democratic candidate for governor of Arkansas, sued Republican Sen. Bart Hester on Thursday for libel.

NWA lawyers Tom Mars and Kathryn Platt filed the lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court. It accuses Hester, who is president pro tempore of the Arkansas Senate, of “internet defamation with malice.” Jones told the Democrat, “We would do well NOT to ignore [student protestors],” on X, which used to be Twitter. In response, Hester wrote that Jones was “taking a pro-Hamas terrorist position.”

The complaint says that far-right Republican members use the term “Pro-Hamas” on purpose to hurt political opponents and win support from their own party’s base. According to the lawsuit, Hester “maliciously” said the thing about Jones while Jones was a private citizen and not as a public official. This hurt Jones’ image.

The complaint says, “It is hard to think of a more damaging accusation to one’s reputation than a false public statement that one supports a terrorist group that is known all over the world for committing horrible crimes, such as the senseless killing of innocent women and children.” “No one in their right mind would admit to supporting Hamas unless they are a member of Hamas or another terrorist group.”

The complaint says that Hester’s refusal to delete the post and publicly retract his statement after Jones’ lawyer wrote the Cave Springs Republican asking him to do so shows that he did it with bad intentions.

As the statement says, “Defendant knew or should have known, given the circumstances, that his actions would naturally and probably cause harm to the Plaintiff and continued to do so with malice or reckless disregard for the consequences, which is a sign of malice.”

Jones is suing as a private citizen and wants both real and punitive damages.

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