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Woman fights back in deputy's lawsuit
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Forsyth County News
One of three people named in a recent defamation lawsuit has filed a counterclaim in Forsyth County Superior Court.

Kim Pruitt contends the allegations made against her by Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputy Jonathan Smithgall are not true.

Last month, Smithgall filed suit against Pruitt, David Milum and Lisa Shelton on grounds of libel, slander, false light, civil conspiracy and intentional conflict of emotional distress.

Pruitt's complaint contends that Smithgall has acted maliciously and without justification against her.

It goes on to say that Smithgall’s actions constitute “by clear and convincing evidence, willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression and/or that entire want of care.”

Smithgall’s complaint centers around statements he contends Pruitt, Milum and Shelton made about him in an online community forum.

The complaint lists Milum, a self-styled political activist, as the forum’s Web master and asserts that Smithgall and Shelton, who now lives in Florida, were involved in a romantic relationship from January to April 2008.

It also states that Shelton and Pruitt are acquaintances.

Pruitt is the wife of former sheriff’s deputy Milton Scott Pruitt, who was convicted in July on federal child pornography charges.

Court documents show she has retained Ann Marie Fitz, one of two attorneys who represented her husband.

Attempts to reach Fitz for comment last week were not successful.

The complaint shows that Shelton has alleged that Smithgall is the father of her child.

Smithgall’s attorney, Jeffrey Melcher, has said Shelton never produced evidence that the child was Smithgall’s or that it existed at all.

Shelton has said the child was adopted and is happy and healthy.

Melcher said he received a copy of Pruitt's counterclaim last week, but declined further comment.

In the countersuit, Pruitt admits to posting a message on the online forum about Smithgall and Shelton’s "alleged child."

“I also hear there is a congratulations are in order for the arrival of a new baby girl,” she wrote.

But Pruitt denies the contention that she made statements suggesting the child is Smithgall’s.

She is also denying that she had women’s magazines sent to his house.

Pruitt has asked that Smithgall’s case against her be dismissed and that Smithgall pay for attorney’s fees and punitive damages.

Smithgall has asked for various damages, attorneys’ fees and an injunction or temporary restraining order to stop the defendants from distributing further statements, written or oral, against him.