By Jim Shilander

State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey has filed suit against a rival for a seat on the state Board of Equalization alleging he defamed her and caused emotional distress during a speech to a conservative group in San Diego County.

The suit alleges that state Senator Mark Wyland’s remarks in July unfairly impugned her by making light of a lawsuit by investors of Point Center Financial against Harkey’s husband, Dan. The suit initially named Diane Harkey as well, but her name was later dropped from the suit. A jury found for investors in the case against Dan Harkey last month.

Wyland said he was “incredulous” when he was informed by his daughter, who was served with the suit.

“I am not going to be bullied,” Wyland said. “I assume that Harkey doesn’t want the story of the victims and the jury verdict to come out.”

Wyland said his attorney has begun the process of filing an anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (or anti-SLAPP) suit, which protects the right of free speech. As of press time, Harkey could not be reached for comment.

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