A six-member jury reached a unanimous decision that Sullivan County Legislature Chair Robert Doherty had defamed his predecessor, County Legislator Luis Alvarez. Doherty publicly accused Alvarez of using a sexual slur against a female county commissioner and claimed it was a founded allegation.
The jury reached this verdict after about two hours of deliberation following a three-day trial in Monticello, during which ten witnesses testified.
Mr. Alvarez initiated this lawsuit in the spring of 2021, stating that his primary motivation was to clear his name and restore his reputation rather than seeking monetary compensation.
In response to the verdict, Alvarez issued a press release through his attorney, saying, “I feel vindicated and appreciate the hard work of this jury and of presiding Judge Bryant.”
Greg Goldstein, Chairman of the Sullivan County Republican Committee, released a statement expressing disappointment in Chairman Doherty’s defamatory actions towards Mr. Alvarez stating, “As an Organization that takes pride in emulating integrity, honor and mutual respect, the Sullivan County Republican Party is disappointed in the defamatory actions taken by Chairman Doherty towards his colleague, Mr. Alvarez. Under no certain terms do we tolerate or support actions such as these, nor should anyone else.
Doherty said in a statement: “While I vehemently disagree with the decision in this case, I accept the jury’s verdict as that is how our judicial system works. I continue to stand by my actions and remain proud of my defense of a female county employee, who by her own testimony, was wrongly attacked and insulted by another County Legislator. This decision in no way alters the unanimous determination of the County Board of Ethics which previously found that Mr. Alvarez had been verbally abusive toward the employee in question.”
Both Mr. Alvarez and Mr. Doherty are running for re-election as legislators in the upcoming November elections.