Demand for Retraction of Misrepresentations Made Regarding John W. Whitehead

April 1, 1999


Mr. Sam Sloan
1320 Bushwick Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11207

Re: Demand for Retraction of Misrepresentations Made Regarding John W. Whitehead On Web Site
John Whitehead
Financed Paula Jones Case??

Dear Mr. Sloan:

The attention of The Rutherford Institute has been brought to certain false, misleading and libelous statements made about its President, John W. Whitehead, in an article on your web site ( While as a First Amendment organization The Rutherford Institute has no complaint with the airing of your opinions on various subjects, we are surprised and disappointed that you chose to publicize reckless and untrue charges, and in particular that you made no attempt to contact Institute staff to determine their substantial accuracy.

While the entire article is maliciously false in letter and spirit, the particularly egregious misrepresentations include your claim throughout the article that your daughter was "kidnapped" by Mr. Whitehead, acting in concert with Jerry Falwell. You imply a conspiratorial connection with the general district judge for Amherst County, Paul Whitehead, by alleging a familial tie with Mr. John Whitehead that simply does not exist. You further display a grossly cavalier attitude toward the facts when you state that Mr. Whitehead "founded the Rutherford Institute to raise funds to finance the Paula Jones case."

If you had done a modicum of investigation into your charges, you would have discovered that neither The Institute nor Mr. Whitehead have or have ever had any ties to Rev. Falwell or the Moral Majority. This allegation was reported erroneously in the L.A. Times and several other media sources over a year ago, and retracted after we objected to the error. The only link The Rutherford Institute or Mr. Whitehead have had with Rev. Falwell is that attorneys affiliated with The Rutherford Institute represented Falwell's Liberty University and two of its athletes in a landmark lawsuit against the NCAA that established the right of religious athletes to engage in brief end-zone prayers of thanks. Neither Mr. Falwell nor his organizations have ever made financial contributions to The Rutherford Institute to assist in the Paula Jones case.

Further, you should be aware that The Rutherford Institute, far from being a mere "vehicle" for the Paula Jones suit, is an international, 501(c)(3) non-profit civil liberties organization founded in 1982. The Institute has filed several dozen cases in the United States Supreme Court, including two seminal First Amendment cases, Frazee v. Dept. of Employment Security (1987) (constitution protects free exercise of religion regardless of adherence to recognized or traditional faith system) and Arkansas Educational Television v. Forbes (1998) (seeking right of third-party candidate to be included in government-sponsored and televised campaign debate), and a multitude of amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in the Supreme Court and the federal and state courts of appeals. Rutherford Institute attorneys are currently litigating over two hundred active court cases, on issues ranging from free speech to government abuse of power to sexual harassment. Institute attorneys came to Paula Jones' aid in order to defend Ms. Jones' right as a woman to be free of workplace sexual harassment, and to vindicate the principle upon which the Institute was founded - that no one, including the President of the United States, is above the law.

Finally, you allege that Mr. Whitehead released the name of the "Jane Doe Number 5" alleged rape victim to the public. That is simply untrue. The name was released by the Dallas law office of Rader, Campbell, Fisher and Pyke, P.C., over Mr. Whitehead's strenuous objections based upon the victim's right of privacy. The Rutherford Institute deeply regretted the release of her name, for many of the same reasons you cite in your article.

We are confident that, upon a review of this matter, you will recognize the need for an immediate retraction or clarification of these statements on your website. Of course, if you do not, The Rutherford Institute will need to consider taking legal action to secure its interests in its goodwill and reputation. The favor of a reply is requested on or before the close of business on Monday, April 5, 1999. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Very truly yours,

Litigation Counsel
The Rutherford Institute

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