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Rosen sues AIPAC for defamation

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The former AIPAC foreign policy chief charged with receiving classified information is suing his former employer for defamation.

Steve Rosen filed a civil action March 2 in District of Columbia Superior Court seeking $21 million from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, its officers at the time of his dismissal in 2005 and an outside spokesman hired to deal specifically with the case.

In his complaint, a copy of which was obtained by JTA, Rosen charges that "false and defamatory statements" made on AIPAC’s behalf caused him to "suffer personal and professional humiliation, career damage, damage to his personal and professional reputation, mental and emotional distress, and loss of income and earnings and other financial losses."

In a statement, Patrick Dorton, the outside spokesman for AIPAC named in the suit, said AIPAC and the other defendants would defend themselves vigorously.

"The complaint paints a false picture of what happened," he told JTA, adding later that "AIPAC made all decisions in this situation with a determination to do the right thing."

Keith Weissman, the former AIPAC Iran analyst who is Rosen’s co-defendant in the criminal case under way in a federal court in Alexandria, Va., is not a plaintiff in the civil suit.

Weissman and his lawyers declined comment, as did Rosen. Rosen’s lawyers — in the criminal case and in his suit against AIPAC — did not return calls requesting comment.

A judge set June 5 as the day to set a trial date for Rosen’s civil suit.

Rosen and Weissman, indicted in August 2005, are set to go to trial on May 27.

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