WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Montgomery Attorneys Ask Judge To Dismiss Slander Suit

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Country music singer John Michael
Montgomery has asked a judge to dismiss a slander suit against him
arguing in court filings that statements he made to police qualify
as "pure opinion" and cannot be found slanderous.
A fired Lexington police officer filed the lawsuit last month in
Fayette County Circuit Court. Joshua Cromer contends Montgomery
made several false allegations, including that Cromer took his hat,
in an interview with the police department's internal affairs unit
after a drunken-driving arrest.
Attorney Brent Caldwell wrote in motions filed this week that
Montgomery cannot be sued because he was cooperating with police,
making his statements privileged.
One motion says Cromer told prosecutors that he took
Montgomery's hat during the arrest and planned to sell it on eBay.
Cromer's attorney, Shane Sidebottom, said Cromer did not take
Montgomery's hat.
"Mr. Cromer never seriously stated to anyone that he took John
Michael Montgomery's hat," Sidebottom said. "He never had a
hat."
Cromer was fired in February in part for postings made on his
MySpace.com Web page and for his actions in connection with
Montgomery's drunken-driving arrest in February 2006. He is
appealing his termination.
Montgomery entered an Alford plea last August to the
drunken-driving charge, which acknowledges that there was enough
evidence for a conviction. He was ordered to pay fines and take an
alcohol-education course.
The police department's internal affairs unit interviewed
Montgomery during its investigation of Cromer due to postings on
his MySpace page that included a picture of Montgomery standing
next to a fan. Cromer's face was superimposed over the fan's face.
At Cromer's February disciplinary hearing, an assistant Fayette
County attorney testified that he was upset that Cromer had not
booked the hat into evidence and had planned to sell it, according
to one of the motions filed. When the prosecutor shared his
frustration with Cromer, Cromer told the prosecutor that he was
joking, and he turned the hat over to prosecutors.
Montgomery's attorneys have said he normally wears a baseball
cap. When investigators showed him the hat that Cromer had turned
over, Montgomery said it was not his.
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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,
http://www.kentucky.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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