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Former Portsmouth City Attorney files defamation lawsuit against Portsmouth Mayor

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Posted at 10:28 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 22:28:06-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Former Portsmouth City Attorney Solomon Ashby has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Portsmouth Mayor, John Rowe.

Last month, Ashby was fired the same day the City manager Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton submitted her resignation.

The week prior to that, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene was placed on administrative leave.

Now Ashby is filing a lawsuit claiming in a media interview that Rowe said Asby gave unbalanced advice and that has cause damage to his reputation.

Court documents say in early September, Ashby sent an email to the members of the Portsmouth City Council related to whether they should dismiss the then-serving City Manager, Lydia Pettis Patton.

According to court documents, during a media interview Rowe said,“That [ – referring to the email – ] was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I have never seen an opinion like that before. It just did not make any sense and it doesn’t make any sense now.”

Ashby is claiming in the lawsuit that due to Rowe's comments he has "suffered injury and harm to both his good personal reputation and his good business reputation, as well as great humiliation, shame, vilification, exposure to public infamy, scandal, and disgrace."

News 3 reached out to Mayor Rowe, however he refused to comment.