Pa. governor candidate Shapiro faces defamation suit over campaign ads

Shapiro's campaign materials have repeatedly referenced Toni Shuppe's activities and made pejorative statements about her in TV ads, press releases, and social media posts.

Published: October 27, 2022 5:33pm

Updated: October 27, 2022 6:08pm

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, currently the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, faces a defamation suit from a local woman whom he has repeatedly referenced in campaign ads.

Toni Shuppe, co-founder of Audit the Vote PA, has called for a forensic audit of the 2020 election in the state, per the Epoch Times. Shapiro's campaign materials have repeatedly referenced her activities and made pejorative statements about Shuppe in TV ads, press releases and social media posts. In one instance, the campaign quoted a Vice News article calling her a "QAnon-linked, election-denying conspiracy theorist hell-bent on upending the current election system."

Shuppe, however, insists that none of the Shapiro camp's assertions about her are true and she is now suing Shapiro, alongside campaign manager Dana Fritz, for defamation.

"Despite knowing the falsity of the statements and/or insinuations, and/or the likelihood thereof, [Shapiro and Fritz] promoted them anyway, on a national level, to support their claims, which were bereft of any evidence whatsoever, particularly as concerns [Shuppe]," the suit alleges.

The Times highlighted press releases from the Shapiro camp asking, "Does Doug Mastriano agree with Toni Shuppe that the official story about 9/11 was a 'lie' and 'a false flag' operation?" and "Does Doug Mastriano agree with Toni Shuppe that QAnon is 'a very valuable resource' and that a cabal of elites are running a global child sex slave ring?"

Shuppe's relevance to the campaign is based in part on a Shapiro camp insinuation that Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano may appoint her to be Pennsylvania's secretary of state should he win in November, which neither Shuppe nor Mastriano have confirmed.

The Mastriano campaign told the Times that "Josh Shapiro, Joe Biden and the radical Democrats are operating outside the rule of law to demonize and smear their political opponents. From FBI raids to unlawful imprisonments and online censorship, Biden and Shapiro have abandoned any sense of law and order. We are heartened to see someone fight back against Shapiro personally and hold him accountable."

Just the News has sought comment from the Shapiro campaign.

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