Judge Rules in Dr. Barbara Sharief’s Favor to Proceed with her Defamation Lawsuit Against Senator Lauren Book

DAVIE, Fla., Feb. 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Former Broward County Mayor Dr. Barbara Sharief is one step closer to victory in her potential landmark case that could affect all political campaigns in Florida for years to come. The core issue is the ability of a political candidate to LIE in a campaign and hide behind the First Amendment. 

Judge Shari Africk Olefson strongly rejected Senator Book’s claims that Dr. Barbara Sharief’s lawsuit was “frivolous,” denying Book’s second attempt to dismiss the case. The Judge, in fact, ruled WITH PREJUDICE that the libel and defamation lawsuit against Lauren Book, stemming from false accusations in text messages and TV ads against Dr. Sharief, must move forward.

Expressing her stance, Dr. Sharief emphasized, “I feel strongly that candidates must have First Amendment rights to express their opinions in a political campaign but I do not believe that candidates have the right to lie about their opponent to win an election. She went on to say:  “That is what I feel happened to me when Lauren Book disseminated knowingly false information in desperation because she was behind in the polls”.  

Dr. Sharief’s attorney Michael Pizzi said about the Judge’s decision to move the case forward to trial. “A victory, in this case, will help every good and honest candidate in their quest to becoming a public servant BY making it clear that lying and slandering public servants in a win at all cost effort can result in having to pay millions of dollars in damages. A win for citizens who want to take the mudslinging out of politics in Florida.” 

Notably, Dr. Sharief had previously settled a defamation lawsuit against Winning Florida, a political committee responsible for misleading campaign ads during the 2022 primary election in support of Senator Book. The current case is considered even more significant, aiming to challenge the long-standing trend of candidates making false allegations without facing consequences. Dr. Sharief said: “I hope that when I win this case, it will encourage future candidates to rethink the lazy strategy of slandering their opponents and they will run clean campaigns based on the issues that voters care about.

To learn more about Dr. Barbara Sharief, visit shariefforflorida.com. For interview requests or more information please contact: 954-967-1900, ryann@teamsharief.com