Friday, May 21, 2021

Vega Vs. Krasner II, The Libel Suit

By Ralph Cipriano

Carlos Vega may have lost the Democratic primary for D.A. to Larry Krasner, but there's a rematch coming in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

It's the libel suit known as Carlos Vega Esq. vs. Shaun King, Real Justice PAC and Lawrence Krasner for DA.

Judging by the 49-page libel and slander complaint filed last week in court by The Beasley Firm, it's going to be a wide-ranging slugfest, because the lawsuit also accuses the defendants of conspiracy, money laundering and political payoffs.

"In a remarkably Machiavellian fashion, these defendants have conspired, for their own greed," the lawsuit begins. By "using Philadelphia’s citizens as a steppingstone for a desired national political presence," the lawsuit states, and lying to them, the defendants have conspired to funnel "significant funds . . . to line the pockets of defendant Shaun King, his Real Justice PAC, and the Krasner campaign."

"The sad reality is that neither Krasner nor King care a whit about Philadelphia, its citizens, or the malignantly expanding crime that is suffocating this city," Vega's lawyers state. "They will use whatever means are needed, including illegal and false smears against their adversaries, to achieve their goals."

As detailed elsewhere on this blog, the Real Justice PAC of San Francisco has been a big campaign contributor to Krasner. 

Since 2017, the Real Justice PAC and its leaders have funneled more than $230,000 to Krasner, including $109,000 in cash, as well as $106,813 paid to Brandon Evans, the national political director at Real Justice who has served as Krasner’s campaign manager since 2017. 

During their five-year-long collaboration, the Real Justice PAC and Krasner's campaign have operated in a lawless fashion, brazenly violating the city's campaign finance laws.

Two years ago, the city’s Board of Ethics finalized an agreement that called for both the Real Justice PAC and Krasner's campaign committee to pay a total of $23,000 in fines and forfeitures for breaking city laws back in 2017, when Krasner first got elected D.A., with donations over and above the city's legal limits.

Those fines and forfeitures, however, had no effect on either guilty party. The city has an annual limit on donations from a single PAC, $12,600. But just last year alone, the Real Justice PAC lavished more than $100,000 on Krasner's reelection committee, including $75,000 in cash, $29,450 in rent money, and in-kind contributions of $10,375 paid to Krasner’s campaign staffers. 

This year, the Real Justice PAC added libel to its bag of dirty tricks. When polls warned that the D.A.'s race might be closer than Krasner would have wanted it to be, Shaun King, a Real Justice PAC co-founder and its chief fundraiser, launched a vicious online smear campaign against Vega.

In his hateful social media posts, King was over the top, claiming that Vega was a "real life super villain," a "monster," and "evil personified."

Since those statements were merely opinions, King might have gotten away with his smear campaign. But unfortunately for King, he also made several provably false statements about Vega's career and reputation, and that's where American libel law kicks in.

King falsely claimed that Vega was "fired from the Philadelphia D.A.'s office for corruption;" King also falsely stated that Vega had a habit of framing black men, and sending them to jail for crimes they didn't commit.

That's when Vega's lawyers stepped in, filing notice of a libel and slander suit against King, Real Justice, and the Krasner campaign. Vega's lawyers followed up with a letter demanding a set of retractions from King, a letter that only spurred King to spew more venom, venom that Vega's lawyers will point to as proof of malice. 

Because Vega, as a candidate for D.A. was a public figure, to win a libel case, you not only have to prove what King was writing about Vega was false, you also have to prove the defendants knew it was false when they wrote, but they went ahead and printed it anyway, with reckless regard for the truth.

That's what you call malice. 

"The lies spread by these defendants about Mr. Vega, a 35-year prosecutor that has dedicated his life to protecting the citizens of Philadelphia, are shameful and maliciously false at their core," states the lawsuit written by James Beasley Jr., Louis Tumolo, and Lane Jubb Jr. 

"And, in spite of being confronted with the truth, these defendants refused to retract, correct, or otherwise withdraw their false claims."

The lawsuit charges that the defendants conspired to smear and libel Vega, to prevent the public from focusing during the campaign on Krasner's woeful record of fighting crime. 

"In order for these defendants to achieve their national political goals and line their pockets with unsuspecting donor’s hard-earned money, they have sacrificed the lives and safety of all Philadelphians," the lawsuit states. "Gun violence and homicides plague Philadelphia communities as murders and violent crimes surge to historic levels."

[As of yesterday, the city has 199 murders, a 38% increase over last year's body count of 499; at the current pace we'll set an all-time record this year of 688 murders.]

"This election comes at a critical juncture as voters fairly question D.A. Krasner’s ability to deliver reform and safety. D.A. Krasner’s abysmal record is indefensible; he and those around him know it."

"To distract Philadelphians from the critical issues, the defendants have embarked on a fear mongering smear campaign to drive their maliciously false message and distract Philadelphians from D.A. Krasner’s indefensible record as Philadelphia’s chief law enforcement officer."

According to Vega's lawyers, the libel started when King charged Vega with “fixing” the Anthony Wright case way back in 1993, and “falsely imprisoning [Wright]” for over 25 years." 

In the libel lawsuit, King absurdly charged that Vega, the first Latino homicide prosecutor in the state of Pennsylvania, had falsely convicted and imprisoned Anthony Wright because he "harbors prejudice and bias toward minorities."

Vega's lawyers state that there is no factual basis for either of those claims by King.

"Further, these defendants conspired to falsely assert that Mr. Vega, who in his official capacity as a city prosecutor, carried the taint of these biases and acted in a manner consistent with them, all of which are outrageously false, and intended to cast Mr. Vega in a false light before the public."

In a footnote, Vega's lawyers note that King, Real Justice and the Krasner campaign "have placed Krasner’s office in a direct conflict of interest."

The conflict: "in having Anthony Wright support the campaign and spread more lies about Mr. Vega, while at the same time having an open DUI case against Wright in that office," the lawsuit states. "One must wonder what breaks Mr. Wright will get for helping to smear Mr. Vega and get Krasner re-elected."

The lawsuit includes a photo of Wright campaigning for Krasner, and social media posts from Krasner saying that he was grateful and honored by support on the campaign trail from Wright and other convicts who were the recipients of a get-out-of-jail free card from Krasner. 

In defending their client, the lawyers wrote that Vega "possessed an impeccable reputation as a prosecutor for 35 years; he was never once disciplined by the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania."

"Mr. Vega, a single father, also worked the night shift at UPS for nearly 15 years while still employed as a full-time prosecutor to support his children," his lawyers wrote.

"While Mr. Vega was pulling double duty as a top homicide prosecutor protecting Philadelphia’s citizens, and raising a family, Krasner was a criminal defense attorney trying to make a name for himself" by suing the police department 75 times.

The lawsuit traces the hostilities between Krasner and Vega back to a notorious triple-murder trial where Vega beat Krasner.

"In December 2016, less than two months prior to Mr. Krasner’s announcement of his candidacy for District Attorney, he defended a cold-blooded killer, Ibrahim Muhammed, in a three-week murder trial," Vega's lawyers wrote.

"Ibrahim Muhammed and his co-conspirator, Nalik Scott, were charged with a triple murder inside a West Philadelphia bodega." Vega "was one of two prosecutors assigned by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to the Muhammed/Scott murder trial."

"At the conclusion of a contentious three-week trial, the jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes then returned a verdict of guilty on all charges against defendants Muhammed and Scott," Vega's lawyers wrote.

"Krasner has never gotten over being handily beaten by Mr. Vega, and swore to get revenge against him," Vega's lawyers wrote.

When Krasner took office in January, 2018, one of his first official acts was to fire 31 senior prosecutors in the D.A.'s office, including Vega, who responded by filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Krasner, alleging age discrimination. 

"Krasner’s long-standing malice and resent of Mr. Vega resulted in his illegal termination of Mr. Vega, who was forced to file suit against Krasner," Vega's lawyers wrote. "That legal action was brought pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act."

That lawsuit is pending. In that case, Krasner never alleged that Vega was guilty of any misconduct, which might pose yet another legal problem for Shaun King.

In their lawsuit, Vega's lawyers point out how irresponsible Krasner and his political allies were.

"During a time when tensions between police and citizens are one news story away from combusting, these defendants conspired to publish maliciously false statements concerning Mr. Vega, in part, alleging that he has worked alongside police to wrongfully convict Anthony Wright and hundreds of other black men," the lawsuit states.

"The defendants published these knowingly false and reckless statements to shamelessly exploit the socio-cultural unrest in the wake of the tragic murders like George Floyd and others who have been wrongfully murdered at the hands of police," the lawsuit states.

"This scheme manufactured lies about Mr. Vega to outrage the public and line the defendants’ pockets with donations at the expense of Philadelphians," Vega's lawyers wrote. "The publication of these statements was carried out to help D.A. Krasner maintain a stranglehold on the city’s top law enforcement position by securing his bid at re-election."

"Beginning on or around April 12, 2021 these Defendants launched a social media assault directing maliciously false accusations towards Mr. Vega," his lawyers wrote. "In doing so, they falsely report that Mr. Vega wrongfully convicted Tony Wright for rape and murder

"Mr. Vega was not at all involved in the prosecution and conviction of Anthony Wright for the murder of Louise Talley in the 1993 trial – a fact well known to all defendants," Vega's lawyers wrote.

"Mr. Vega has never 'framed' any individual for any crime, including the heinous crime of murder."

Here's another problem for the defendants in the libel case, especially Krasner. In the federal lawsuit where Vega is suing Krasner for alleged age discrimination in his firing, Krasner never alleged misconduct against Vega.

Legal problem No. 2 for  Krasner -- the D.A.'s lawyer filed a motion before the election to seal the records in the age discrimination case. And then, on the campaign trail, Krasner repeatedly violated that order by talking about some alleged new reasons why he fired Vega. 

"On April 1, 2021, the Honorable Gene E.K. Pratter, presiding over the pending lawsuit entered an order to approve the parties’ stipulation to amend protective orders, dated March 30, 2021," Vega's lawyers wrote. "This order has sealed records, including deposition transcripts like Mr. Krasner’s, related to Mr. Vega’s termination."

"The defendants now use the court’s order to seal in Vega v. Krasner as a shield and a sword – blocking the public’s access to DA Krasner’s sworn deposition testimony regarding his alleged reason(s) for terminating Mr. Vega while conspiring with the defendants to publish maliciously and knowingly false statements that Mr. Vega was fired for 'corruption' and for 'framing and convicting' Tony Wright and other innocent men/women."

"A publicly accessible pretrial memorandum outlines the alleged basis for which D.A. Krasner claims he terminated Mr. Vega in January 2018," Vega's lawyers wrote. "This document was electronically filed with the court on November 11, 2020. Nowhere in that memorandum does DA Krasner accuse Mr. Vega of decades of corruption or make any mention of the Anthony Wright trial."


And here's another potential problem for the defendants. In his smear campaign against Vega, King unwisely bragged online that he had somehow obtained Vega's records from his entire tenure at the D.A.'s office.

"I searched your emails and records from 35 yers and guess what??? I don't see a single shred of evidence of you EVER even trying to hold HORRIBLE police accountable," King wrote. "I don't see a single conversation of you ever fighting to seriously change that office! You were there for 13,000 days!!"

The obvious question is how did rabble-rouser Shaun King obtain Vega's emails and records from his entire 35-year tenure at the D.A.'s office? 

Did Krasner, in his zeal to nail a political opponent, pull Vega's personnel jacket and then turn it over to co-conspirator King?

And here's another problem for King.

"Contrary to the defendants’ false statements, public records prove that Mr. Vega held bad police accountable during his career as a prosecutor," Vega's lawyers wrote.

Vega "successfully prosecuted Philadelphia Police Officer Ryan Shiver for two counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under influence stemming from a car crash that killed two Northeast Philadelphia brothers after a Super Bowl party," Vega's lawyers wrote.

"Shiver was sentenced to 6 to 12 years incarceration."

"Additionally, Mr. Vega coordinated a grand jury investigation which culminated in the indictment of Philadelphia Police Homicide Detective Ronald Dove for his involvement in helping his girlfriend, Erica Sanchez, evade investigators who suspected her in a homicide," Vega's lawyers wrote.

"Detective Dove was indicted on counts of hindering apprehension, flight to avoid apprehension, criminal conspiracy, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, and unsworn falsification to authorities," the lawsuit states.

"Working with investigators, Mr. Vega collected overwhelming evidence of guilt for Erica Sanchez and Detective Dove, thereby securing guilty pleas from both defendants."

So why did King and Real Justice lie about Vega? According to Vega's lawsuit, it was all for profit and political gain. 

"Through their outrageous and false social media posts, the defendants direct readers to their fundraising pages located at," the lawsuit states. "To achieve their national political goals and line their own pockets, the defendants spread these falsehoods to anger the public and solicit unsuspecting donor’s hard-earned money."

"This donation money is collected and redistributed to the defendants various organizations, businesses, and PACs," Vega's lawyers wrote.

"In exchange for spreading these malicious falsehoods, the Krasner campaign paid thousands of dollars to Real Justice PAC in the last reporting period," Vega's lawyers wrote. "The Real Justice PAC in turn uses that money to keep D.A. Krasner’s campaign manager, Brandon Evans, on the payroll, along with Shaun King and Becky Bond," who are both co-founders of the Real Justice PAC.

"In their most recent Campaign Finance Report, defendant Real Justice reported $44,000 in total monetary contributions and receipts during the April 5, through April 30, 2021 reporting period – the same period during which defendant King, a co-founder of Real Justice PAC, launched his social media attack on Mr. Vega," his lawyers wrote.

"In turn, defendant Real Justice used the money received from the Krasner campaign to launder funds to local Philadelphia politicians and their PAC to pay for their public endorsements of D.A. Krasner," Vega's lawyers wrote.

Real Justice paid $18,000 to three local politicians who endorsed Krasner for reelection.

According to the latest campaign finance report filed by the Real Justice PAC, in just one day, April 22nd, the Real Justice PAC paid the "Friends of Maria" $6,500, "Jamie for West Philly" $6,500, and the "Friends of Joanna McClinton $5,000.

Maria is Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez. Jamie is Jamie Gauthier, who's running for relected to the Philadelphia City Council. And Joanna McClinton is the state representative for West and Southwest Philadelphia, as well as Yeadon and Upper Darby.

Vega's lawsuit points out how the money that people donate to Real Justice is passed around to the same beneficiaries who are wearing different hats. 

"During the same reporting period, the Krasner campaign paid a substantial sum, $91,000 to The Social Practice, LLC," Vega's lawyers write. 

"As described on their website,, 'The Social Practice is an ideologically-driven consultancy based in the U.S. and Europe,' " Vega's lawyers wrote.

"The Social Practice, LLC operates from the same address, 3041 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 941104, as Real Justice PAC," the lawsuit states. Shaun King is listed as a co-founder of the Social Practice LLC, as is Becky Bond.

The complaint concludes by seeking a "judgment against all defendants in an amount of compensation for damages in excess of the jurisdiction limit to guarantee a jury trial, together with interest and costs, and punitive damages in an amount which will punish defendants for their conduct and deter them and others similarly situated from similar acts in the future."

Now there's reason for optimism. 

To date, the city's Board of Ethics failed to hold Krasner, King & Real Justice accountable by sleeping through their continued brazen violations of local campaign finance law. 

The progressive media, led by The Philadelphia Inquirer, gave the same bunch of bad actors a complete pass.

But with Vega's libel suit, perhaps the tag team of Krasner, King and Real Justice will finally be held accountable. 


  1. Why are the Feds not investigating him. The only hope we have of getting rid of Krasner is an indictment. Thanks for all you do Ralph.

    1. Maybe the answer is in Ralph's posting from Saturday, May 15, 2021: "The Black D.A. And The White D.A." Hope this helps.

  2. Vega is a fraud and a coward. Has been. Tried to be woke like Larry. Ride off into the sunset. You had your chance and you let us all down.

  3. "The obvious question is how did rabble-rouser Shaun King obtain Vega's emails and records from his entire 35-year tenure at the D.A.'s office?

    Did Krasner, in his zeal to nail a political opponent, pull Vega's personnel jacket and then turn it over to co-conspirator King?"

    More importantly, Shaun King will now need to either admit or deny that statement under oath. If confirmed, that would mean that the DA's office has waived privilege on 35 years worth of prosecutor's emails. That would include emails discussing grand juries, etc. Every defense attorney, grand jury supervising judge, and disciplinary board is going to be asking questions.

    I think the technical term for this is "career ender."

    1. I applaud your active imagination. How about this: the case gets summarily dismissed with little damage to Krasner or Shaun King? How many times did we think that we had found the smoking gun on removing Krasner? The unlucky CCP judge who gets assigned is probably going for re-election in two to three years. You think he or she wants to mess with real justice or Shaun king? That the sure career ender. Plus, Beasley Law Firm will cave to woke pressure from Temple Law School to drop the case and sell Vega out. Get over it. Krasner is a snake but he’s Teflon. Move on with your lives. Vega is a fraud and a failure. Took 500 Krasner murders and $800k of donor money and shit it away.

    2. Let me help you a little here. CCP judges don't get "re-elected" and they don't lose retention votes. They are also not worried about Shaun King. Nice try.

      Vega's claim will hold up just fine. Beasley knows how to get a complaint past the pleading stage, and sooner or later we will know whether King got emails he wasn't supposed to get. Or, maybe Krasner could clear it all up for us and assure us King didn't see years worth of DAO emails?

      The one who's afraid of King isn't Vega or the CCP judges.

  4. Re-election versus Retention. Semantics. Do you really think that CCP judges are not subject to political pressure or corruption? You must be new to Philadephia. Reclaim, Working Families Party, Real Justice PAC have taken a hold on to Philadephia local politics and they are not letting go anytime soon. This was the quote in today’s Inquirer article discussing yet another “exoneration” (sort of):

    “Earlier in the day, during a Zoom hearing, Common Pleas Court Judge Tracy Brandeis-Roman commended the District Attorney’s Office and Walker’s attorneys and advocates for showing “fortitude, honesty, compromise, and compassion” in working together to scrutinize Walker’s conviction for second-degree murder — which carries an automatic life sentence — and agreeing on a resolution that will secure Walker’s freedom.”

    Does it sound a little deferential? You think Krasner cares about this latest law suit or any law suit? He’s in control. When he’s done messing the city up as DA, he will become Mayor. Sorry for the truth. I’m upset about it too, but the chance to reverse just came and went and 11% of registered voters picked Larry. That means nobody gives a F about any of this.

  5. Philadelphia Inquirer already covering again for dear uncle larry - Rising crime and rising murders are the fault of everyone and everything else.

    Do the sports reporters follow the same ridiculous script? If the Eagles hired a new coach who fired all his experienced players and worked on giving the ball to the opposing team and then the number of lost games skyrocketed, would the inquirer blame it on aliens, the CIA, COVID, "systemic racism", and whatever other BS they use to excuse larry's stupid actions?

  6. There are still some good reporters in this City. Many are freelance. Philly Mag is good. Broad and Liberty is good. Somehow, these stories need to get to the people. Every day. Not through print media obviously. Google, Twitter, Facebook are all corrupted but they must be used until they are broken up or replaced. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore, except to sit back and watch the City burn. We must turn back these Socilaists. Stop paying your taxes? Have neighborhoods secede from the City like Rockledge did? Kill their tax base. Jury nullification while Krasner’s administration remains? Refuse to sit on those juries in Philadephia criminal kangaroo court. Tell the corrupt judges that you know the system is rigged for the defendant, so they won’t pick you. Let the Kranser voters get eaten up by the criminals living among them. Get your guns ready in case they cross into your neighborhood. We must continue to educate the voters. Delaware County is pretty much gone. Montgomery County is gone. Can we educate those counties to turn back the tide? That’s debateable. Vote for Peruto in November. Is it a protest vote? Maybe. Or maybe we can make history and take back Philadephia, like New Yorkers took back their City from Mayor Dinkins through Rudy Giuliani.

  7. The Discovery in Civil Cases
    Is always interesting


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