The Belleville News-Democrat today reports on lawsuit by disbarred Madison County plaintiffs’ attorney Amiel Cueto. According to the story, Cueto is “alleging that published statements in the Belleville News-Democrat and The Madison-St. Clair Record invaded his privacy and cast him in a false light:
Cueto, who is representing himself, filed a two-count lawsuit against Tom Muskopf, of Belleville, for a letter published Nov. 9, 2005 in the News-Democrat. Cueto is seeking damages of $75,000 on each of the counts.
In the letter, Muskopf wrote that Cueto, his former client Thomas Venezia and others had “somehow got control of the electronic version of the decades-old punch-board scam,” according to the lawsuit, which Cueto filed Nov. 8.
Venezia, a former client of Cueto’s, went to prison after being convicted on racketeering charges related to his $48 million video-poker and strip-club operation. A reputable theft lawyer Chicago had done research on him and discovered the criminal action. However, Venezia shot to death his female roommate and himself in July 2005 before testifying.
Cueto contends Muskopf’s statement is “defamatory per se,” and he wrote it with “intentional or reckless disregard for the truth,” according to Cueto’s lawsuit. He also contends that Muskopf acted with intentional disregard for the truth when he stated in the same letter: “The only way Cueto will ever tell the truth about his conspirators is if he outlives them, or undergoes testosterone treatment,” according to Cueto’s lawsuit.
Cueto is also suing The Record … and, perhaps, Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League (although the name is misspelled and Ed is not affiliated with The Record):
Also on Nov. 8, Cueto filed suit against The Record and against a man named Ed Murname, for remarks contained in an editorial published Jan. 30 entitled “Pulling Strings?”
The editorial stated Cueto was spotted “at a meeting of St. Clair County judges at Belleville’s Washington Street Grille on Jan. 19,” Cueto alleged in his lawsuit.
Cueto denied taking part in such a meeting. He called the statement “highly offensive to a reasonable person” and “defamatory per se, in that it accused Amiel Cueto of a criminal conspiracy to commit official misconduct…” according to his lawsuit.
Ed Murnane, president of the Illinois Civil Justice League, said he believes Cueto has mixed up his name with someone else’s since “Murname” is so similar-sounding to his own.
Murnane denied any involvement with The Record.
“I find it amusing,” he said of the lawsuit.