The following is part of an e-mail he sent to me on April 28. It came after he had admitted my reporting on his activities at Ashley Madison was accurate, and he had struggled for some time with sex addiction:
The embarrassment you're causing my wife is something I don't think you fully grasp, and the pain of not only opening these old wounds but opening it to the public for her ridicule is outrageous.
Regular readers of this blog know that my wife, Carol, and I have earned graduate degrees in "pain management," so I had a ready answer for Mr. Deusner:
I know all about pain, and so does my wife. I was thrown in jail for five months in Alabama for writing an accurate blog post that displeased Judge Bill Pryor and the Bob Riley gang. I've come to learn that Rob Riley is one of the most corrupt "humans" on the face of the earth.
We lost our home of 25 years in Birmingham to a wrongful foreclosure driven by associates of Bob Riley and Luther Strange and Jeff Sessions. We now live in Missouri, and cops here conducted an unlawful eviction and broke my wife's arm -- snapped the bone in two, just above the elbow. I saw the whole thing happen. They then turned around and brought bogus criminal charges against her. All of our possessions have been stolen; I have one pair of pants and one pair of shoes to my name.
All of that is neither here nor there regarding this post. But I'm just trying to let you know that I'm not a neophyte when it comes to pain. We live in a society where people literally can be beaten up inside their own home, kidnapped by cops without a warrant, and thrown in jail for practicing journalism.
I can't take down the post now; it's accurate, and I know of no journalist who would remove a story that is accurate. I've worked in the field for 35 years and have a degree in journalism. I would be glad to talk with you early next week, but I will leave that up to you. Just let me know your thoughts.
Deusner's reply was revealing on a number of fronts:
I am not contesting the accuracy, but accuracy is not the point. I am a private citizen, and you are posting outrageous, hurtful, scandalous information about me, with links to my wife's Facebook and photos of my children. You're causing undo pain and suffering - that's not journalism - and nothing about this is in the public's interest. I made mistakes and owned up to them, and paid the price and continue to pay the price. I will ask you to reconsider your position. I understand you are busy filing court papers right now, but please take time to reconsider. The last thing I need right now are legal fees - and I am sure its the last thing you need as well. I really hope we can resolve this without going that route.
Let's note a few peculiarities here:
(1) Deusner claims accuracy is not the point. But as a lawyer, Deusner should know accuracy is THE point in any journalistic endeavor; it's an absolute defense against claims of defamation. And Deusner admits he's not contesting the accuracy of my report. So, what's his beef? He doesn't have a legitimate one -- just sound and fury, driven perhaps by guilt over the mistakes that, to his credit, he admits to.
(3) Deusner concludes by really going off the deep end -- threatening legal action over an article he admits is accurate. Upon what grounds does he plan to base a possible lawsuit? I have no idea. But he should know there is a tort called abuse of process that can be a counterclaim to a lawsuit that has no basis in fact or law. Also, most jurisdictions have some sort of "litigation accountability act" that can have serious consequences to those who use the courts to file groundless claims.
Here is how I left things with Deusner:
I've said I would be glad to speak with you via phone, and I should be available early next week. If you want to get in touch with me then, that's fine. If not, that's fine, too.
Not sure how I could have been any more courteous, considering the ugly tone and pure garbage he was throwing at me. I've heard no further word from him.