A dozen years ago, Jews for Jesus missionary Bruce Rapp wrote a abbreviate newsletter commodity for the alignment announcement a new convert: his Jewish stepmother in South Florida.
But Edith Rapp, of west Delray, said it was a complete lie — she denied anytime accepting Jesus Christ as the son of God — and in 2003 she sued the San Francisco-based evangelical ministry.
This is the body of a aspersion affirmation which, afterwards circuit of absinthian action that went as aerial as the Florida Supreme Court, is assuredly set for balloon in Palm Beach County afore the end of the year.
“She considers herself 100 percent Jewish,” said Barry Silver, Rapp’s Deerfield Beach-based advocate and additionally her rabbi. “She’s actual afraid to go to court.”
But Jews for Jesus’ attorneys are allurement Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown to aish the trial, mainly on the area that Rapp, 79, is clumsy to prove any amercement from the publication. A audition on the appeal is set for Oct. 21.
“This case is actually about nothing,” said Horatio “Harry” Mihet, an advocate with the Orlando close declared Liberty Counsel. “The claims are afterwards merit.”
The action adjoin Jews for Jesus has become article of a cause for Silver, who already has paid a abrupt amount in the anatomy of $106,000 to Liberty Counsel, to dness sanctions accustomed by Brown and Circuit Judge Edward Fine.
In cloister orders, Judge Fine had criticized Silver for “bad acceptance litigation” in the anatomy of anarchic words in aboriginal versions of Rapp’s lawsuit. Silver appealed the sanctions and lost, and was affected to pay the law firm’s acknowledged fees aftermost year afterwards his ancestors coffer accounts were frozen.
On Aug. 29, Brown accustomed yet added sanctions adjoin Silver. This time, it’s because Silver aftermost year sued Liberty Counsel over his own aspersion claims, stemming from the diffuse Rapp battle.
Silver accused the close of aspersion — tarnishing his acceptability in the eyes of -to-be audience and the Florida Bar — by putting out a annual absolution labeling him as a advocate who files barmy claims.
But Brown absolved Silver’s accusation and appointed an Oct. 22 audition to actuate how abundant money Silver will acquire to pay Liberty Counsel for its aegis of the now-disposed claim. Mihet says he’ll appeal $30,000.
Silver is allurement the 4th District Cloister of Appeal in West Palm Beach to annul Brown’s adjournment of his litigation. The appellate cloister already criticized Silver’s “theological animosity” in the Rapp dispute.
In her lawsuit, “Edie” Rapp accused stepson Bruce Rapp of again attempts to catechumen his father, Marty Rapp, afore his afterlife from Parkinson’s ache in 2003. She declared Bruce Rapp falsely depicted her as a Jesus addict who recited the “sinner’s prayer” for her salvation; the affirmation appears in Bruce Rapp’s “Praise Report” for the Jews for Jesus newsletter in July 2002.
Over the years, the accusation was befuddled out, alone to be active by the state’s accomplished court, which Silver says shows the case has merit. Now the case is slated to be approved ancient amid Oct. 27 and Dec. 19. The plaintiff has said she may ask the board to accolade her about $500,000.
During a March 12, 2013 deposition, Rapp said, “both my bedmate and I told [Bruce] that we were actually not interested, because to us, Jesus was not allotment of our religion. Anybody who was a Jew for Jesus was not a Jew in our acceptance … We were Jewish, and we capital to break Jewish.”
Rapp said she has suffered “mental damage” from what was accounting about her, according to the degradation archetype fabricated accessible aftermost month.
“First of all, it aloof upsets me awfully that he aria about it,” she said.
But Jews for Jesus refuses to abjure the advertisement “because all such statements are accurate and none are defamatory,” the ministry’s attorneys wrote in an April pleading.
In an Aug. 28 motion, Liberty Counsel apprenticed Judge Brown to aphorism in its favor because: Rapp accepted in her degradation she hasn’t suffered any banking abuse from the newsletter article; not one being beheld Rapp abnormally because of it; and the annual about her accepting Jesus, accurate or false, doesn’t fit into any of the four categories of aspersion accustomed by the Florida Supreme Court.
“Defendant did not address that Plaintiff was accusable of a bent crime, had a crabs disease, was amateur or erfingers from her profession or office, or was unchaste,” advocate Roger Gannam wrote.
Bruce Rapp, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz., active an affirmation in 2012 afraid with his annual about his above stepmother, according to cloister records. The admiral additionally insists it never afflicted Edie Rapp.
“Jews for Jesus does not accolade or incentivize its advisers to falsely affirmation that they abiding others to acquire Jesus Christ,” Gannam wrote. “Jews for Jesus had no motive or absorbed to retaliate against, or to abase or abash Edith Rapp.”
[email protected], 561-243-6642 or Twitter @SSCourts
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