Four-term former Las Vegas Mayor Oran K. Gragson endorsed Steve's candidacy for Mayor in 1991.
Steve was far ahead in the polls. In a desperate move, Steve's opponent, auto dealer Jan Laverty Jones, dredged up an old Sun news story, edited out 56 words, and added a false and deceptive caption. She then spent hundreds of thousands of her own dollars publishing the altered article in TV and direct mail ads. Brian Greenspun, the publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, permitted  her to republish the altered story even though it was copyrighted material.
Miller demands Jones retract allegations
Las Vegas Review Journal 
Monday, May 6, 1991
An attorney for Councilman Steve Miller demanded Friday that Jan Laverty Jones retract allegations made in a campaign flier that he was driving a car in which cocaine was discovered.
Steve sued Jones for libel in 1991. Jones won a Summary Judgment in District Court in 1993, and the case was dismissed. Steve Appealed the decision and, in 1998, won his Appeal in the Nevada Supreme Court!
Las Vegas Sun
February, 5, 1993
"It's apparent she's willing to run a negative gutter campaign. The important thing here  is the fact that the mayor is willing to besmirch the reputation of anybody for her own political gain." - Governor Bob Miller

Justice rips Jones over flier
LV Sun, June 18,1998 
By Cy Ryan 
"Chief Justice Charles Springer says Las Vegas Mayor Jan Laverty Jones showed a 'reckless disregard for the truth' when she issued a campaign flier in 1991 about her mayoral opponent then-Councilman Steve Miller." 
Ex-councilman's complaint against Jones may have merit
Chief Justice Charles Springer: "It looks like libel per se to me."
LV Review Journal, 
June 18,1998 
By Sean Whaley 
Donrey Capital Bureau

Court says mayor can be sued
LV Review Journal 
December 30, 1998 
By Sean Whaley, Donrey Capital Bureau 
The Supreme Court said Tuesday in a split decision that former Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Miller can sue Las Vegas Mayor Jan Jones for defamation stemming from a campaign flier issued by the Jones campaign in their 1991 race for mayor.  Writing for the majority, Justice Cliff Young said sufficient evidence was presented in District Court to support a jury finding that Jones acted with actual malice in publishing a flier in May 1991 that said in part, "A police detective accuses Miller of giving false information in a report concerning cocaine found in a car Miller was driving."  The statement, printed in red in the campaign flier issued days before the election that Jones won, relied on an article that had appeared in the Las Vegas Sun in 1988.  Miller sued Jones for defamation, arguing the part of the statement that read "cocaine found in a car Miller was driving" was false because no cocaine was ever found in the car, nor was Miller driving it at the time, as some voters could have interpreted from the statement. Young, who was joined by Justice Bob Rose and District Judge Richard Wagner, serving in place of Justice Bill Maupin, said, "We conclude that based on this evidence, a jury could reasonably find that Jones acted with a reckless disregard for the truth in publishing the statement at issue." 
                                      Laverty-Jones, LV SUN File Photo
Nevada Supreme Court decision 
Dec. 29,1998
O P I N I O N By the Court:
"In the present case, we conclude that the evidence Miller presented to the district court is sufficient to support a jury finding that Jones acted with actual malice in publishing the flier." 

Supreme Court of Nevada.


Steve MILLER, Appellant, v. Jan Laverty JONES, Respondent.

No. 29391.

December 29, 1998

"It was a really outrageous and dumb thing for the Jones campaign to have done because what that was...that may have been a legitimate issue - the facts that happened - but what they did with that in my opinion was try to insinuate that you were a cocaine user...To me that was a blatant attempt...a last minute eleventh hour attempt to try to win the election right there. They thought they could get enough votes by the people who would not read it carefully enough, the people that would take the part of the mailer that was a little misleading and start having questions about you in an area where no one had ever had questions about you before. I thought it was an abhorrent political tactic. I think I underestimated the impact of that myself at the time.I think it was very damaging. Whether it cost you the election or not is tough to tell but I think it was very damaging."-- LV Sun Political Commentator Jon Ralston from a 1992 interview on the Steve Miller Open Line - KLAV Radio

Piss and vinegar
"The court's majority opinion, in fact, includes a line that couldn't have been done better if Miller had written it himself: 'The statement at issue seems likely to have created in the mind of the reader a factual scenario at odds with the truth.' Translated, it suggests Jones lied in the flier, something Miller has been trying to prove for years."
" 'I wish her well as a human being,' Miller says, the kind of preface that lets you know there's a whopper coming. 'But as a politician I am out to destroy her because that's what she did to me, and I'm going to show her how it feels.'
Las Vegas CityLife 
January, 1999 
By Steve Sebelius
Jones appealed Steve's Supreme Court victory...and lost again - temporarily.
Mayor loses bid to stop Miller suit
"Supreme Court sticks to previous ruling"
"Without comment, the court rejected the petition by attorneys for Jones for a rehearing."
Las Vegas SUN 
May 12, 1999 
By Cy Ryan 
While waiting for the jury trial. Steve made a half-hearted attempt to return to public office, but a Jones protege' used her technique again to win the election. This final act inspired Steve to retire from politics.
PAC sues councilman, three others 
LV Sun, July 14, 1999 
By Bill Gang and Erin Neff 
"In addition to McDonald, Big Elephant's lawsuit names James Reginald Tucker, Larry Scheffler, Kelly Sullivan, Passkey Systems, Las Vegas Color Graphics Inc. and Paladin Advertising. Statements linking the PAC with the brochure exposed the Big Elephant Club to 'public hatred, contempt and ridicule,' the lawsuit said."
The Big Elephant Club has filed a defamation lawsuit alleging City Councilman Michael McDonald and three other men authored an 'offensive brochure' against City Council candidate Steve Miller and blamed it on the political action committee.

Mailer brings new lawsuit 
LV Review Journal, 
July 14, 1999 
By Jane Ann Morrison
"McDonald repeated what he has contended 
all along: 'I had nothing to do with it.' He said neither he nor
his campaign authorized the brochure, even though he was
the one it benefited." 
                                                Review Journal photo
A club that once helped McDonald in his City Council race sues him over attack on rival. 'The case is about the ability of someone to do a hit piece and not be accountable for it. You just can't get away with doing that kind of mean- spirited piece and label it as someone else's work. It's astonishing someone would go and put someone else's name on something,' explained Charles Bennion, Harris' attorney.
Numerous articles were written about MILLER v. JONES in the years leading up to the jury trial.
Political slurs can damage private lives
"Jones arranged a meeting with me to discuss a 
resolution to my lawsuit. During that meeting she agreed to conduct a joint press conference to retract her slanderous and malicious statements. Jones and I formulated the wording of the retraction and my response. All parties agreed. Three weeks later, Jones renounced her agreement."
Special to Las Vegas Sun 
By Steve Miller 
May 13, 1997 
"The ramifications of a malicious last-minute attack on the character and reputation of a political opponent can have long-lasting personal, political, monetary, and career effects."

Jan Jones' Deliverance
Jan has obviously developed into one of the most socially acceptable women in Las Vegas…….despite her initial method of attaining prominence.
COLUMN: Steve Miller 
© Copyright Las Vegas Tribune 
September 14, 1999
The trial took place three years following Steve's Supreme Court victory. The lower court jury ruled for Jones in a split decision. Steve did not appeal.
Today: May 30, 2001 at 10:54:11 PDT 
Miller: Verdict is a victory
By Kim Smith 
Miller said he does not intend to appeal the verdict, in part because he believes a message has been sent to those politicians who might consider running a negative campaign. It simply isn't fair to send out a flier in the waning days of a campaign and not give your opponent a chance to respond, Miller said.

Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal 
Jones prevails in Miller libel lawsuit
Ex-councilman unlikely to appeal 

Steve hears verdict with attorneys Sam Harding and Barbara Johnston
Miller said the four-week trial gave him a chance to tell his story and clear his name. He said he has no regrets about taking the case this far but has no plans to file an appeal. 
"Getting it behind me is probably one of the most satisfying adventures of my life," he said. 
Miller, 56, sat stoically beside his two attorneys as the jury's decision was announced. Jones was not present in the courtroom. 
After the four-week televised trial, the judge stated, "If Steve Miller couldn't win his case, then defamation cases in this state are un-winable." However, the Supreme Court ruling in MILLER v. JONES stands as case law and will make it easier for future libel actions to go to trial. Steve retired from politics and began a writing career.
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