Lawsuit withdrawn in HD 45 brouhaha


A lawsuit brought by the fiancé of Carolina Amesty against one of her House District 45 Republican Primary Election opponents, his consultants, and a political committee was quietly withdrawn.

The suit from Jesus “Jay” Rosario had charged Republican Bruno Portigliatti; his political consulting firm SimWins and its principles Anthony Pedicini, Thomas Piccolo and David Millner; the political committee, Citizens for Principled Leadership; and its Chair, William Helmich, with violating his rights with campaign mailers sent by the “Citizens” committee to HD 45 Republican voters.

Court documents from Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit posted online Thursday show the suit was withdrawn Wednesday, though neither Rosario nor Amesty mentioned that to an inquiring reporter, even in conversations about the case that occurred Thursday morning.

The notice of voluntary dismissal with prejudice was submitted Wednesday, signed by Rosario’s lawyer Paul Thanasides of Tampa, and timestamped 9:21 p.m. by the clerk’s office.

“We have new facts that we are currently evaluating,” was all Rosario said Thursday afternoon. He declined further comment on his counsel’s advice.

Portigliatti responded with: “This goes to show that the lawsuit had no merit and that it was intended solely for the purpose of harassing and distracting us from the work we’re doing of reaching voters every day.”

The lawsuit underscored how nasty the Republican Primary Election campaigns have gotten in HD 45, which covers southwestern Orange County, including Walt Disney World, and parts of northwestern Osceola County. Besides Amesty and Portigliatti, the contest includes Vennia Francois, Janet Frevola and Mike Zhao.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent in HD 45 on advertising heading toward the Aug. 23 Primary Election, not just by the campaigns themselves but by outside groups, including Citizens for Principled Leadership, Conservative Leadership Fund and Committee to Protect Florida.

Rosario had filed his suit regarding mailers from the “Citizens” committee that sought to attack Amesty by attacking him, branding him as liberal and disgusting. Rosario said he also was called “corrupt” in a text campaign against Amesty. The mailers included his home address, telephone number and email address.

Portigliatti also has threatened legal action, after Conservative Leadership Fund mailed literature dubbing him “Lying Bruno ‘Brazil’ Portigliatti,”

There have been other mailers making other attacks in HD 45.

Results from recent General Elections suggest HD 45 may have a slight Democratic lean.

Allie Braswell, a diversity consultant, former Marine and former president of the Central Florida Urban League from Winter Garden, has wrapped up the Democratic nomination and awaits the Republican Primary winner.

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