Javier Manjarres ordered to pay $25K in defamation suit vs. Florida GOP official

Javier Manjarres - Artwork
GOP Committeeman Richard DeNapoli said Manjarres lobbed false 'stolen valor' claims at DeNapoli and violated a previous settlement.

Javier Manjarres is taking another loss — this time in court — after a judge ordered him to pay $25,000 for violating a settlement agreement with Republican Party of Florida State Committeeman Richard DeNapoli.

The newest judgment dates back to a 2014 defamation lawsuit DeNapoli filed against Manjarres after Manjarres published multiple articles alleging DeNapoli was lying about serving in the military. Ironically, Manjarres faced accusations of exaggerating his own military record during his 2018 congressional run.

After the 2014 posts, DeNapoli sued for defamation. After wrangling in court for a few years, the case wrapped with a confidential settlement agreement in 2016.

That should have been the end of it, but DeNapoli reopened the suit in 2018 and accused Manjarres of breaking the settlement agreement by continuing to attack DeNapoli on Twitter and in now-deleted posts to Manjarres’ website.

That was a violation of the settlement, DeNapoli argued, which barred Manjarres from publishing negative comments about DeNapoli.

This past February, a 12th Judicial Circuit judge agreed, and ordered Manjarres to pay $25,000 for that violation.

“Defendant, Javier Manjarres, violated the settlement agreement on multiple occasions,” wrote Judge Andrea McHugh, citing several exhibits provided in the case as well as Manjarres’ own answers during deposition.

“On at least one occasion, Defendant Manjarres admitted to violating paragraph 1 of the mediated settlement agreement by referring to Plaintiff in a publication he personally authored and intentionally published. The nature of the publication was damaging to Plaintiff and Defendant Manjarres offered no exculpatory or mitigating explanation for his intentional breach of the mediated settlement agreement. The Court finds this act constitutes ‘bad faith’ on the part of the Defendant.”

When Manjarres published his original articles, he called on DeNapoli to produce his DD-214, a form that describes a person’s military rank and their reason for being discharged. He called DeNapoli’s claims about serving in the Marines a “lie,” and alleged DeNapoli “had told several friends that he dropped out during boot camp.”

DeNapoli did produce records showing he had a brief stint in the Marines before being injured, and said he never sought to exaggerate his service record. Ironically, when Manjarres was accused of doing the exact same thing in 2018, Manjarres refused to release his own DD-214, despite a challenge from his GOP primary opponent.

Manjarres went on to lose that Republican primary contest.

DeNapoli currently serves as a state committeeman for the Broward County Republican Party after winning reelection last year.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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