Well-known political activist, Craig Callaway, has filed a motion to remove Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small’s slander lawsuit to Federal Court. Removal will allow Callaway to defend his constitutional rights in federal court, in Camden, N.J.
A few weeks ago, Craig Callaway was sued by Mayor Marty Small and his wife, AC High School principal LaQuetta, for alleged slanderous statements.
The Smalls took offense to Callaway’s opinion regarding LaQuetta Small’s cousin who pleaded guilty to producing child pornography.
“Marty, you and your wife should have been focused on protecting and saving children who were in your home, who were savagely attacked and raped in your home.Callaway on WPG radio. 10.19.20
On October 26, 2020, Callaway appeared on the “AC 411” podcast, stating that it was “public information” that “LaQuetta Small caught Frazier with a child.”
Callaway filed a motion on April 8, 2021 to remove the Smalls’ lawsuit against him to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
In his motion papers, Callaway argues that the question of whether he slandered the Smalls regarding their relationship with Kayan Frazier is a question under federal law and thus should be decided in a federal court.
“Mr. Callaway is seeking to defend himself in New Jersey federal court so that he can assert his constitutional rights to free speech under the First Amendment,” said Daniel Weininger of Lento Law Group, the lawyer representing Callaway in this case.
The biggest hurdle to a slander claim in this case is that the plaintiffs must prove the statement was uttered with ‘actual malice.’
Mr. Callaway looks forward to mounting a forceful defense in this case brought by these two New Jersey public officials.Callaway Attorney Daniel Weininger
Plaintiff Marty Small is currently the Mayor of the City of Atlantic City. His wife, LaQuetta Small, is the Principal of Atlantic City High School.
Prior to her assuming that role in 2019, LaQuetta Small was Principal of Pennsylvania Ave School in Atlantic City, from 2013 to 2018.
While LaQuetta Small was serving as Principal of Pennsylvania Ave School, the Atlantic City School District hired her cousin, Kayan Frazier, as a substitute teacher. Frazier filled in at multiple schools throughout the district including the Pennsylvania Ave School.
During his time within the school district, Frazier worked at Uptown Complex, Sovereign Avenue School, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, Texas Avenue School, Richmond Avenue School, Brighton Avenue School and Pennsylvania Avenue School.
In February of 2017, LaQuetta Small learned that her relative, Kayan Frazier, was taking a student home and allowing that child to sleep over.
On February 24 of 2017, Small filed a report with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Small also completed a Source4Teachers incident report form that cited Frazier for unprofessional conduct and recommended that he be “removed from school”.
Small contacted mother of the student that Frazier was spending personal time with. The student’s mother told Ms. Small that Frazier was “helping out”. Frazier was placed at five (5) schools in the Atlantic City School District over the course of thirteen (13) days in the month of March 2017.
On April 3, 2017, Kayan Frazier was terminated from his position as a substitute teacher in the Atlantic City School District. No formal investigation was conducted by the Board at that time.
In February of 2019, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office began investigating Kayan Frazier for sexual misconduct involving minors.
On April 15, 2019, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office charged Frazier with unlawful possession of child pornography.
Since Plaintiffs Marty and LaQuetta Small are both public officials/figures, they must establish, among other things, that Callaway slandered them with actual malice, otherwise known as “constitutional malice.”
Callaway attorneys believe arbitration is not appropriate in this case because it involves complex issues of public official / figure defamation law.
This case also implicates First Amendment protections contemplated under New York Case: Times Co. v. Sullivan, which makes formal adjudication, rather than arbitration, appropriate.
From BreakingAC.com: Atty for Callaway noted that Frazier already has pleaded guilty and that the case and its connection to the Smalls “is a serious public concern to the voters of Atlantic City.”