Exiled Liberal MP Moira Deeming has taken Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto to the Federal Court, claiming damages and aggravated damages over a controversial media release.
Deeming contends that Pesutto orchestrated an "ongoing, relentless and persistent public campaign" that severely harmed her reputation.
The legal action, filed with the Federal Court and disclosed by Sky News, asserts that Pesutto's March 19 media release contained defamatory statements.
It accused Deeming of supporting white supremacists and neo-Nazis, rendering her unfit for the Victorian Parliament. The media release referred to Deeming's attendance at a Let Women Speak rally, which was infiltrated by neo-Nazis.
Deeming's claim cites interviews given by Pesutto to 3AW's Neil Mitchell and the ABC's Michael Rowland, where he expressed strong disapproval of any association with Nazis or white supremacists.
The legal team argues that these interviews were defamatory and caused serious harm to Deeming's reputation.
The statement of claim also highlights a dossier from Pesutto's office, presented as evidence of an orchestrated campaign against Deeming. The legal action, prepared by defamation lawyer Sue Chrysanthou, was filed on Tuesday afternoon.
This development follows the issuance of a fourth concerns notice to Pesutto on Monday, with no comment provided by Pesutto's office.