Attorney disputes arrest report

ELIZABETHTOWN — The attorney for Jeffrey Smith wrote a letter this weekend concerning reports that her client has been arrested in Sampson County last week.

The reports were delivered to area media outlets by the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office as prepared by agents from the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement.

The attorney’s letter is as follows:

As attorney for Mr. Jeffrey Smith, I am hereby notifying you that your publication on December 18, 2015, regarding the arrest of Jeffrey Smith in Sampson County is incorrect. Mr. Smith has not been arrested in Sampson County. As you are well aware, Mr. Smith is also an elected public official, who has just recently won re-election following the initial false charges in Bladen County where he WAS NOT convicted. Your publication of this new false story very damaging to his reputation, and has caused him great emotional distress. I am also reminding you that a news reporting agency has a duty to investigate whether a story is correct before simply republishing the same.

I am demanding that you immediately cease and desist any further publication of this false story and to remove and retract the publication notifying the public of your false allegation in the same manner in which you initially published the same. Failure to immediately do so will result in further action by Mr. Smith and will be construed as further evidence of defamation by maliciously making false allegations against him.