Wagner Asks $ 4.6 Million For Debunked ‘LA Magazine’ Article
Anthony Wagner, former Santa Barbara police spokesperson and retail cannabis regulator at the center of a tantalizing but ultimately inaccurate story Los Angeles Magazine article, demands that the publication remove screenwriter Mitchell Kriegman’s lengthy narrative and pay $ 4.6 million in damages and attorney fees. The request took the form of a seven-page letter sent on June 11 by Wagner’s attorney, Michele B. Friend, to the president and publisher of Shelby Russell magazine. If Russell does not respond, legal action is likely to be filed.
“Sir. Kriegman and LA Magazine paint a shocking cinematic image for a reader to think Mr. Wagner is like a gangster with a history of corruption who was unfit to be hired but mysteriously got the job through a connection inappropriate relationship with a supervisor, that he impersonated a police officer, forfeiting his badge while assaulting a private citizen, and that he abused his position to obtain valuable cannabis licenses for his friends The letter read while describing what it describes as the article’s “32 gross inaccuracies”. “The outrageous claims are entirely false and misleading, and they have caused significant damage to Mr. Wagner and his family . “
The focal point of the March 12 article was a not-so-veiled accusation that Wagner gave special treatment to a retail cannabis claimant he had previously worked with in San Diego. This claim, however, turned out to be false, and an investigation launched by the Santa Barbara Police Department exonerated Wagner of any wrongdoing.
The magazine issued a correction on this point but has so far failed to correct any of the other reported inaccuracies, Friend said, including misrepresentation about Wagner’s employment history and the level of his involvement in the process. Santa Barbara cannabis authorization. While Wagner has been cleared, his reputation has been tarnished publicly enough that his post was cut in the ministry’s latest budget and he now finds himself out of work.
Friend also lambasted Kriegman for not allowing Wagner to respond to the charges against him before it was published, and she noted how several Santa Barbara news outlets had previously refused to publish the story due to its “flawed reporting. “and his lack of fact-checking. Kriegman, she said, had to travel “100 miles outside of Santa Barbara town to find a publisher for her Attack Piece.”
Speaking on behalf of the publication, Editor-in-Chief Maer Roshan highlighted the Independent to comments he made in a May 21 magazine article about the conclusion of the police investigation and the local backlash that the story generated. “Santa Barbara’s complex relationship with the cannabis industry is a touchy subject that triggers a vocal response every time we cover it,” he said. “Mitchell Kriegman’s story about Santa Barbara Police Department spokesperson Anthony Wagner was no exception.
Kriegman’s article which included a typo in the first paragraph describing Santa Barbara as a “kind” rather than a “distinguished” community – “underwent a succession of modifications and a rigorous fact-checking before being published”, Roshan insisted. He said the magazine quickly corrected the claim that “wrongly linked Wagner to a local cannabis owner” but “other than that there were no material factual errors in our article.”
“We respect the results of the investigation and support our story,” he said.