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PUBLISH

Before HARTZ, Circuit Judge, BRORBY, Senior Circuit Judge, and TYMKOVICH, Circuit Judge.

George Milam Hall submitted to a local newspaper, the Coffey County Republican (“The Republican”), an advertisement opposing the election bid of Judge Phillip M. Fromme. He paid to have the ad run on two occasions. The paper ran the ad the first time but not the second, instead running an ad supporting Judge Fromme, which was paid for and signed by a number of attorneys, including Coffey County Attorney Douglas Witteman. Mr. Hall filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas against The Republican, Judge Fromme, the signatory attorneys, and a few others. His complaint included claims under federal civil-rights laws (42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985) and the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961–68), as well as a number of state-law claims. The heart of the allegations in the complaint’s 153 paragraphs is that after Mr. Hall placed his advertisement, the defendants unlawfully convinced the paper’s publisher to pull the second running of his advertisement in favor of their own, which contained defamatory remarks about him. This action, he contends, violated his right of free speech under the First Amendment, as applied to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the law.

 
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