Newspaper Publisher Uses Outlet To Sue Wife For $18 Million Over Alleged Poisoning Attempt
The co-owner of an Arizona newspaper used the publication to levy allegations against his wife, accusing her of poisoning him and failing to report her side of the story.
Arizona newspaper Prescott Daily Courier ran an ad in December 2017 accusing Felice Soldwedel of poisoning her husband Joseph Soldwedel, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The ad said Felice Soldwedel had an accomplice and offered a $10,000 reward for any tips about the alleged incident, according to the AP.
The Courier also ran three stories about the alleged incident, but did not name Felice Soldwedel. The stories ran roughly eight months after she filed for divorce in April 2017.
“It almost makes you feel like you want to leave town. He made me look like this horrible person,” Felice Soldwedel told the AP.
Joseph Soldwedel owns Western News and Info Inc. He partially owns 13 other newspapers, including the Courier, according to the AP.
Joseph Soldwedel claims he began experiencing fever, headaches and shortness of breath in 2016 and sent hair and nail samples to a Colorado laboratory for testing when the symptoms continued. Tests showed that his thallium levels were up to 15 times higher than normal, the AP reported.
After receiving the results, Joseph Soldwedel became convinced his wife had been putting poison in his food. He asked authorities to investigate in September 2017.
Police investigated and found no evidence of the alleged poisoning. The Courier did not report the lack of findings in their December stories.
Joseph Soldwedel is seeking $18 million in damages, according to the lawsuit filed against Felice Soldwedel, the AP reported. The suit also seeks to strike down the prenuptial agreement guaranteeing Felice Soldwedel $900,000 and asks for an annulment of marriage. (RELATED: 38-Year-Old Woman With Autism Was Euthanized In Belgium. Authorities Are Investigating Improper Poisoning)
A prosecutor declined to file charges over the alleged poisoning, according to the AP.
Hair samples sent to the lab did test positive for methamphetamine, according to authorities, the Charlotte Observer reported.
“I’m hoping to get her into court and to get it into trial and bring up enough evidence to the surface that police could not ignore it,” Joseph Soldwedel told the AP.
Joseph Soldwedel pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment and criminal damage after his wife told police that he was stalking her in April 2017. He is currently on probation.
The Courier didn’t write about the guilty plea.
“It’s highly problematic for a publisher to be using the editorial resources of the paper to pursue a personal vendetta,” Edward Wasserman, dean of the University of California, Berkeley’s graduate journalism school, said according to the AP.
“The whole thing is pretty bizarre because someone who is not the publisher would not get that kind of attention, absent law enforcement taking it seriously,” Wasserman added.
The Soldwedels’ divorce case will be heard in February, the AP reported.
The Courier did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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