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John Lee says opponent behind website labeling him ‘sexual predator’; Flippo denies

David Flippo’s campaign denied involvement in the website, which included a recording of a man arranging a sexual meetup with a woman and her teenage daughter.
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Election 2024

An anonymous website launched last week accuses John Lee, a GOP candidate for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District, of being a “sexual predator” based on a 25-minute recording of a man arranging a sexual meetup with a woman and her 13-year-old daughter.

On Monday, the eve of the GOP primary, Lee issued a press release accusing his top opponent, David Flippo, of being behind the “intentionally false and disgusting attacks,” though his campaign did not say exactly how it concluded that Flippo was personally involved. The campaign said the audio “is clearly not of John Lee.”

Lee’s campaign filed a lawsuit Monday in Clark County District Court and said it had turned over evidence to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and FBI. Lee’s campaign alleged that the recording was either fabricated or generated using deepfake artificial intelligence, a method that digitally alters media to spread misinformation.

In a statement on Monday, Rory McShane, the founder of McShane LLC, which is managing Flippo’s campaign, said the campaign had no role in the website.

“The Flippo campaign was not involved in the publication of this website or recording in anyway, and went as far as to preemptively make the Lee campaign aware of its existence more than six months ago,” the statement said.

In the lawsuit, Lee’s lawyers said that the audio file was discussed in a December meeting between both campaigns. They also alleged that a Clark County man named Lou Colagiovanni — listed as a defendant alongside Flippo and his campaign — offered the audio file to Flippo’s campaign in exchange for $20,000. Colagiovanni, a political blogger, helped reveal a sex scandal involving former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

Colagiovanni did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although the lawsuit does not say whether that exact transaction ultimately occurred, it accuses Flippo and his campaign of using the audio file to defame and inflict emotional distress upon  Lee, costing him as much as $15,000 in damages as he retained legal counsel.

“Defendants have created, published and otherwise used the Website to harm Mr. Lee in an attempt to bolster Flippo’s career and in his current campaign for Nevada Congressional District 4,” the lawsuit said.

The website, which went live Wednesday, accused Lee of being a “deviant who seeks out incestuous relationships with mothers and their teenager daughters.” That is based on a 25-minute audio file, during which a man appears to be responding to a Craigslist ad seeking someone to have sex with a mother and her 13-year-old daughter.

The last-minute political mudslinging comes one day before polls close for Nevada’s state primaries. 

Lee — a former Democratic state lawmaker, mayor of North Las Vegas and GOP gubernatorial candidate — and Flippo, a far-right Air Force veteran, are the top two candidates in the GOP race to take on Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV). Lee has received endorsements from former President Donald Trump and Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo.


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