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Jan 9, 2017 4:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Deposition Stage Begins In Defamation Lawsuit Filed Against Southampton Town Justice Barbara Wilson

Jan 10, 2017 2:02 PM

Depositions began on Monday in the $2.2 million defamation lawsuit filed against Southampton Town and Southampton Village Justice Barbara Wilson, though the trial itself is not expected to begin for several months.

The closed-door proceedings are taking place in Riverhead and are expected to include a sworn statement from Ms. Wilson, according to Anton Borovina, the Melville-based attorney representing the plaintiff, Tony Gugliotta.

Filed in the summer of 2015 in State Supreme Court, the suit alleges that Ms. Wilson slandered Mr. Gugliotta, who lives next door to her on Elm Street in Southampton Village, by accusing him of being a “sexual predator” and a “sexual pedophile” during a meeting of the municipality’s Architectural Review Board in April 2015. At the meeting, Ms. Wilson noted that Mr. Gugliotta installed a security camera on his house and said it was pointed directly at her young daughter’s bedroom window.

Ms. Wilson was before the board because it was reviewing her application to install an exterior staircase at the rear of her home. She has since withdrawn the application.

The lawsuit states that immediately after the adjournment of the ARB meeting, which was recorded, Ms. Wilson looked directly at Mr. Gugliotta and yelled, “You better stay away from my daughter!” in front of those in attendance. Ms. Wilson’s comments also were recorded in the official video of the meeting.

Ms. Wilson filed papers in July 2015 asking that the court dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that she made her comments during a public meeting and that her words should be protected as free speech. Her request was denied in the spring, according to Mr. Borovina, because she addressed his client after the meeting had been adjourned.

Representatives for Brian Lester, the Amagansett-based attorney representing Ms. Wilson, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Mr. Gugliotta is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages for slander, as well as another $1 million in compensatory damages and an additional $100,000 in punitive damages for libel, as Ms. Wilson’s comments were recorded and published, according to his lawsuit.

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This also happened to my friends living in North Sea - The people next door put up a garage or addition - without a permit it seemed - and then installed a camera in the window that pointed directly at the pool where my friend's young daughter would swim. Obviously had nothing to do with security. The law would not assist my friends in any way to remove that invasion of their privacy. They had to plant adult trees to prevent the harassment. It was their only recourse.
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Jan 17, 17 11:09 AM
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