In the first attack ad by a campaign in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst criticizes opponent Ted Cruz for representing a Chinese company in its appeal of a jury verdict.
The truth and nothing but the truth is supposed to come out in court, but that's not always the case with political ads. In Dewhurst's commercial, there are true and misleading claims.
The ad tries to make a connection between Cruz the candidate and Cruz the private attorney.
An announcer states: "But you might not know much about trial lawyer Ted Cruz. Lawyer Ted Cruz is helping this Chinese company put this American manufacturer out of business."
It's true that Cruz is representing the foreign firm in its appeal of a jury's verdict. But it's misleading to imply he represented the company at trial, when he did not.
The Florida manufacturer in the case, Jordan Fishman, appears in the ad and says, "Ted is defending a Chinese company who stole things from an American citizen."
That claim is true.
In 2010, a federal jury in Virginia found the Shandong Linglong tire company was part of a conspiracy in which Fishman's blueprints for a mining tire were stolen — or underwent "conversion" in the legal term used in civil cases — and the company used his design to make and sell the tires.
The ad announcer goes on to state: "Cruz's Chinese client stole American blueprints and the courts found the Chinese company guilty, liable for stealing blueprints."
Regarding guilt, not so fast.
The jury did not find the company guilty since this is not a criminal case but a civil case.
It is true, however, that the jury found Shandong Linglong liable for copyright infringement.
Fishman appears again in the political ad and says: "We went on to win a judgment of $26 million."
Jurors awarded Fishman $26 million, according to the jury verdict form entered in court files.
The announcer in Dewhurst's ad then claims: "But with lawyer Ted Cruz's help, the Chinese keep stalling in court..."
The claim of stalling is misleading.
In American courts, a defendant in a civil case — even a Chinese firm — has a right to appeal. The ad implies something sinister in Cruz's work as an appellate attorney in a case between companies.
The Cruz campaign responded to the Dewhurst commercial with this statement:
"An appeal is an ordinary part of the legal process between two private parties, and legal proceedings are not concluded until the appeal has run its course. Earlier this year, Ted argued and won Global Tech v. SEB, a major intellectual property case before the U.S. Supreme Court against a Chinese company that had improperly copied and stolen U.S. intellectual property."
Voters render their verdict whether if all this matters on primary day.