Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said Friday he has settled a libel lawsuit against a local blogger that Martin filed in 2015.
The resulting trial was scheduled for May 16. Martin said he had no further comment at this time.
Martin argued in the lawsuit that Lehigh Valley blogger Bill Villa’s “false and defamatory statements, innuendos and implications regarding Martin were published with genuine malice on WAEB, Villa’s internet blog and Facebook site, and on Youtube.”
In the lawsuit, Martin claimed that “from 2006 to the present, Villa has had a personal animosity towards him” and stated his intention to “dethrone”, “destroy”, “expose” and “blast Jim Martin out of the water”.
According to the lawsuit, in 2006-2007, the district attorney’s office prosecuted Robert LaBarre for an accident that caused the death of Villa’s daughter, Sheena. LaBarre was convicted of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence.
The lawsuit argues that Villa thought LaBarre should have been charged with third-degree murder and disagreed with the prosecutor’s decision not to charge LaBarre with that crime.
At the time the complaint was filed, Villa said Martin tried to “silence my freedom of expression.”