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Attorney for Senate Majority Leader still looking for action from paper in defamation lawsuit

The attorney for Kansas Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning wants to see the Kansas City Star act on the claims made in his defamation lawsuit.

“Usually, responsible journalism requires a retraction when the newspaper admits that it published something that was false,” said Mike Kuckelman Thursday. “They now know that Steve Rose did not interview Jim Denning as he led the reading public to believe and he attributed comments to Jim Denning that, they were clearly not accurate.”

Denning’s purported comments were widely spread across social media before he was responded to by the opinions editor at the paper.

“The Star has an obligation, as a media source, to reach out to everybody who was misled by that article,” said Kuckelman. “We know that they misled, because one of their editors, Colleen Nelson, she wrote that the column was misleading, at best.”

According to Senator Denning’s calendar, he and columnist Steve Rose have not spoken since prior to the 2016 election cycle about this issue and Denning never said what was attributed to him, according to the lawsuit.

“It happened on August 18, 2016, if Steve Rose wants to say that’s where these comments were made, which, again, they weren’t made,” said Kuckelman. “He’s going from memory of a discussion that was two and a half years ago without calling Senator Denning to say, here’s what I remember. I don’t have any notes. Nothing like that. He could have avoided this horrible mistake with a phone call and he chose not to do it.”

A key point in the lawsuit is that the column used a cost number for Medicaid expansion that Senator Denning says he didn’t know when the two of them talked in 2016. In fact, that number hadn’t been publicly reported until January of this year. The column made the purported comments from Denning seem fresher with that edit than Denning says in the suit that they could have been, had he ever made them in the first place.

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