Rapp retracts "unfounded" accusation about Judge Ola Lewis

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

A Brunswick County resident is retracting what he now deems a false accusation he made nearly three years ago about Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis.

Edward Lee Rapp of Boiling Spring Lakes told the Beacon this week his accusation was unfounded about Lewis, whose libel suit against Rapp is scheduled for trial in January.

In 2010, Rapp posted commentaries in an online forum, claiming there was probable cause for disciplining Lewis for violating the North Carolina Code of Judicial Conduct for openly campaigning for candidates in the Republican primary.

Lewis responded by filing a lawsuit for libel against Rapp in April 2010.

“As it turned out, my accusation was unfounded, because the law allows a judge to campaign for other candidates if he or she is also a candidate,” Rapp told the Beacon on Monday. “Therefore, I hereby retract my statement and apologize for falsely accusing Judge Lewis of having acted unethically in 2010.”

Rapp is a former campaign worker for state senate District 8 candidate Bettie Fennell of Pender County.

Lewis’ lawsuit accused Rapp of being “vitriolic in his condemnation of [Lewis] solely because she is supporting William Rabon and not Bettie Fennell.”

According to the lawsuit, Lewis supported Rabon and wore a Rabon pin to Republican meetings, which Lewis’ attorney said was permissible conduct for judicial candidates per Canon 7B(2) and 7C(2), which states judges running for office may “endorse any individual seeking election to any office, regardless of whether he/she has any election opposition.”

Rapp said Monday he has not communicated with Lewis about his retraction.

An employee in Lewis’ office in Bolivia said they would have no comment. Lewis’ attorney in Wilmington has not returned a phone call.