A traffic ticket attorney got sued by a woman after he falsely accused her of cheating on her husband, and then tried to defame her character and reputation in the process.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Florida, claims the former traffic ticket lawyer defamed his wife and other members of her family in a series of emails to their attorneys.
It alleges the emails are the result of an attempt by the former lawyer to defraud the woman of more than $4 million, including thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
“In order to obtain her financial assistance, Mr. Smith made numerous false statements and malicious and defamatory statements,” the lawsuit says.
“The false statements included, but were not limited to: 1) that Ms. Smith was engaged in a sexual relationship with her husband; 2) that Mr. Sam Smith had sexually abused Ms. Sam in violation of a protective order; 3) that she was engaged to Mr. James Smith; 4) that the alleged sexual relationship between Mr. Joseph Smith and Ms. Harris was consensual; 5) that it was not a marriage; 6) that he had not violated Ms. Taylor’s restraining order; 7) that, based on his prior employment, he had never committed an act of domestic violence; 8) that no such incidents had occurred; 9) that none of the alleged acts had occurred or would occur; and 10) that her husband had never abused Ms.”
In the lawsuit, obtained by The Washington Post, attorney John D. Karras said his client, who worked as a traffic ticket agent in Florida for more than 15 years, had no prior criminal convictions and was “extremely well qualified” to handle traffic ticket cases.
The lawsuit alleges Smith falsely accused Harris of cheating with the intention of extorting money from her husband.
Karras, who represented Harris at trial, said in the lawsuit that she filed a restraining order against Smith in 2013 after he threatened to “kill her” and that she reported him to police.
Harris was not charged in connection with the case.
Smith has pleaded not guilty.
A spokeswoman for the attorney, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday, said the lawsuit “sounds like a big fight” and declined further comment.
In a statement, the law firm representing the women who sued Smith, Ladd Davis & Associates, called the lawsuit baseless.
“We have no comment,” the statement said.
“Mr. Karchas has not spoken to us.”
In court filings, Karrus’ law firm, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, alleged that Smith “failed to establish” that Harris was “engaged in a sex relationship” with Smith.
The law firm also alleged Smith “fabricated” an email in which he denied having ever sexually abused Harris and claimed that the woman was a “sexually violent predator.”
Smith’s lawyer, James Karrat, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Lawyers for the women did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for Harris declined to comment.
The woman in the case, whose name has not been released, said Smith threatened to kill her after he received a traffic tickets.
She said Smith said he would kill her if she reported the matter to police, but she never did.
The incident took place last summer, and the woman has not publicly spoken about the incident.
She is the daughter of Joseph Harris, who served as the president of the church for years and was a leading figure in the church until his death in 2013.
Harris died of a drug overdose in 2017, according to church documents.
In 2016, the church said Smith had been kicked out of the organization and was being investigated by the church’s disciplinary board.
In the suit, the woman said in court filings that Smith also threatened to sue her and her husband for defamation and other damages in an attempt to get more money from Harris, according