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Patrick Brown files notice of libel against CTV News

Patrick Brown has filed a libel notice against CTV News following a report last month that alleged sexual misconduct against two young women, calling it “false” and saying it subjected him to “ridicule, hatred and contempt.”
The notice calls on the network to retract and apologize for what it says are “false, malicious, irresponsible and defamatory” stories that accused a sober Brown of improprieties involving inebriated teenagers when he was a federal member of parliament.
Brown, who resigned as Ontario PC leader just hours after the Jan. 24 report and was later kicked out of the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus, has vehemently denied the allegations and has been fighting back publicly in a bid to clear his name.
Last week, he was approved by the party to run for his old job as leader.
The libel notice — the first step in a defamation suit — names the network, owner Bell Media, anchor Lisa LaFlamme, and reporters Glen McGregor and Rachel Aiello. It also cites Toronto’s CP24 news, also owned by Bell Media, and reporter Travis Dhanraj, though his surname is misspelled as Dhanjar.
“CTV News has received a notice of libel. CTV News stands by its reporting and will actively defend its journalism in court,” said Bell Media spokesperson Matthew Garrow.
Since the accusations of sexual impropriety, the 39-year-old Brown has faced a number of other controversies, including questions about inflated party membership numbers under his leadership, and how he affords the taxes and payments on the $1.72-million mortgage for his Lake Simcoe mansion if he was making only $180,000 as party leader.
Last week, MPP Randy Hillier launched a complaint with Ontario’s integrity commissioner about those issues, and also raised questions about several overseas trips Brown took, accompanied by an intern, who may have been involved in a personal relationship with him at the time.
The Star revealed Thursday that prior to Hillier requesting an investigation, the integrity commissioner had already reached out to Brown, demanding he provide details on any income he earned renting out the sprawling five-bedroom property on Simcoe’s Shanty Bay using Airbnb, as an aide had told the Star.
Brown has said that “everything is in compliance with the integrity commissioner,” called Hillier’s allegations “fabricated,” and said that all trips were paid for by the PC party.
Brown’s current 23-year-old girlfriend, his former intern who travelled to India and Lebanon with the then-leader, has also defended him to the Star, calling him the “one of the most respectful, decent and caring individuals I have ever met.”
But the ongoing controversies have left the party in “crisis,” said leadership hopeful Caroline Mulroney, urging Brown to “do the right thing” and leave the race.
“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen allegations of misconduct, wrongdoing and fighting within our party,” she told reporters Friday.
“Any candidate for leader — and for premier — needs to provide Ontarians with a way forward,” she said. The party, she added, needs someone “who will stand up for our values — with integrity.”
Brown’s libel notice says the CTV report and subsequent stories “have caused and will continue to cause damage to his reputation personally and in the way of his office, profession, trade and calling.”
It says that the defamatory words in the report, “by innuendo, falsely and maliciously” gave viewers the impression that Brown “illegally provided alcohol to a person under the age of 19,” that he “engaged in sexual misconduct,” and that the almost immediate “resignations of five key staff members confirm the allegation are true and “by virtue (of the above) . . . he is unfit for public office.”
CTV reported that one of the women who alleged misconduct against Brown said she was in high school at the time that she met him at a bar, but she has since revised that recollection, telling CTV that she was not underage at the time of the encounter.
In a statement provided by her lawyer David Butt, she said she stands “firmly behind the truth of what I said about Patrick Brown’s conduct involving me. Collateral details from an incident many years ago are not important.”
Although her identity was not revealed in the CTV report, she said she has nonetheless been “exposed . . . to abuse on social media that no human being deserves.”
“The comments that I have been subjected to ignore altogether the abuse of power by an older sober man over a young intoxicated woman. The comments construct a false, discriminatory and cruel misrepresentation of the truly debilitating stress that women who are subjected to sexualized abuse of power often have to endure.”

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