Lawsuit accuses Las Vegas lawyer, veterans group leader of defamation

A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses Las Vegas lawyer Louis Schneider and Steve Sanson, who runs Veterans in Politics International, of colluding to influence court cases and making “false and defamatory” statements about another attorney.

That lawyer, Jennifer Abrams, claims that Schneider provided at least one video of a closed Family Court hearing to Sanson, who posted it online late last year under the headline “Nevada Attorney attacks a Clark County Family Court Judge in Open Court,” along with an article that included statements about Abrams that were “highly offensive and inflammatory.”

Abrams called Sanson and Schneider a “criminal syndicate” and said they conspired in “smear campaigns” in an attempt to influence the outcome of ongoing court cases.

The suit also claims that Schneider paid Sanson. Schneider called that allegation “absurd.”

Schneider said he has no affiliation with Sanson’s organization. He also said he was “not pleased” with the video being publicized and suggested that the case be sealed through the court.

“She’s given me a lot more credit than I’m due on this one,” Schneider said. “I’m not even a veteran.”

The video, still accessible on Sanson’s site, captures a hearing in a divorce proceeding that was presided over by Judge Jennifer Elliott.

Reached by phone, Sanson said he had not read the lawsuit or been served with the complaint, which he called “frivolous.”

“I’m not making anything up,” Sanson said. “All I do is expose corruption and unethical behaviors. I’m doing a service to the community. I’m not even getting paid to do it. Somebody’s trying to silence me because I’m pushing too hard.”

Schneider said he anticipated filing a counterclaim on various grounds, including malicious prosecution and abuse of process.

“I find it ironic that she’s alleging defamation of her own actions on video,” Schneider said.

Sanson said the video “speaks for itself.”

“I didn’t put words in her mouth,” he said. “In fact, I wasn’t even in the courtroom when that took place.”

Along with defamation and racketeering, Abrams claims extortion, harassment, civil conspiracy, business disparagement, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Abrams said she and the judge repeatedly asked Sanson to take the video down, and he refused.

“Schneider was copied on these exchanges and, by his silence, acquiesced,” Abrams wrote in the lawsuit.

Sanson responded to the judge via email.

“Once we start a course of action we do not raise our hands in defeat,” Sanson wrote. “In combat we never give up and we will not start given (sic) up.”

Sanson posted other articles on his site and posted videos on YouTube critical of Abrams.

“The statements made by the defendants against Jennifer Abrams were made with the specific intent to cause harm,” the lawsuit alleges. Sanson published the “false and misleading statements knowing its falsity and inaccuracy or with reckless disregard for the truth.”

Abrams asked that the videos be removed, that “all innuendo of illegal, immoral, or unethical conduct that has already been attributed” by Sanson “must never be repeated by any named defendant,” and that Sanson and Schneider author a “full retraction and apology” published online.

POLITICAL ACTIVISM

As president of Veterans in Politics International, Steve Sanson and the organization have become involved in issues that extend well beyond veterans issues.

Veterans in Politics International endorses political candidates during each political cycle, and Sanson casts himself as a fighter against political corruption, and he frequently criticizes judges and the judicial system in Southern Nevada. He’s a frequent commentator on local politics and government, and not just on his online radio show.

Sanson also has been a candidate himself, though he’s never held public office. He ran for the Ward 6 seat of the Las Vegas City Council in 2005, losing to Steve Ross in an 11-way race. On that ballot, Sanson, a Marine veteran, listed his “Devil Dog” nickname. It’s the same title that the Germans gave the Marines they faced in the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918, during World War I , according to Marine Corps lore.

More recently, Sanson ran in the 2016 Republican primary in the Assembly District 13 race. He placed second in a three-way race, losing to Assemblyman Paul Anderson.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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