BOISE, Idaho — A motion was filed in Bonneville County Thursday morning naming Idaho Rep. Chad Christensen (R-Iona), accusing him, and three others, of defamation, civil conspiracy, fraud, and harassment.
7 Investigates spoke to the man behind the lawsuit, Gregory Graf, who's a political activist.
In addition to Christensen, Graf named in the motion Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) Vice President, Dustin Hurst, Idaho Second Amendment Alliance Founder, Greg Pruett, and Christensen's boss at an Eastern Idaho insurance agency, Emmalee Robinson.
Graf claims they took part in an "elaborate scheme" and that he was set up.
The issues between Graf, Christensen, and the others named in the suit date back a few years.
In the last year of his first term representing Idaho's District 32, Rep. Christensen has done and said some controversial things in and out of the statehouse, even making national news.
Christensen openly and proudly states in his legislative bio he's a member of the far-right militia movement Oath Keepers, the anti-government extremist group with several members and leaders arrested in connection to the U.S. Capitol riot.
He also boasts his high Idaho Freedom Foundation Freedom Index score. The rating system has been chastised by many former and current lawmakers for its disproportionate influence over what gets done in the statehouse and its impact on how lawmakers vote.
The motion filed Thursday was the first step toward filing a lawsuit. Graf and his attorney have to ask the court for permission because Christensen is suing Graf. That lawsuit - initiated last year - is still pending.
Christensen sued Graf for defamation in 2021. He alleges Graf tried to get him fired from his job at State Farm in 2020 by sharing information about him with his boss. In his suit, Christensen says Graf alleged Christensen of being a criminal.
In the call to Christensen's boss, court documents filed Thursday show Graf admits telling her: "I say this with evidence. Chad is a sexual predator."
According to the Idaho Falls Post Register, Christensen believes this was defamation so he was "standing up for himself in filing the lawsuit".
For a few years now, Graf has been very loudly and openly critical of Christensen, the IFF and its leaders, and lawmakers who score highly on its Freedom Index.
Graf launched a website called Idaho Conservatives, published negative articles about far-right lawmakers, and helped elect GOP candidates to beat them.
Currently, Graf takes to Twitter often to discuss his issues with far-right lawmakers and the IFF.
Court records show Robinson asked Graf for intel on Christiansen. Unbeknownst to Graf, she recorded their phone call. According to the Post Register, Robinson says she recorded the conversation so she'd have proof of the call if she decided to fire Christensen.
Graf and his attorney allege Christensen conspired to record the call, helping his boss set it up, and then the recording was given to Pruett and Hurst.
They then published a series of articles online in October 2020 blasting Graf.
Graf alleges they tried to get him fired from his job, interfered with his ability to make a living, defamed him, and harassed and doxed him and his family.
"I'm having to defend my personal reputation. The strain this put on me and my career was insane. And it wasn't right," Graf told 7 Investigates. "They can throw whatever they want at me and I will not concede, I will not stop defending what is right in this case.
"When that happens - when someone fights back - their confrontational playbook tells them: well, you have to double down. So that's what they did. They continued to double down and it got worse and worse and worse," Graf said.
He points to these tactics as a big reason driving many elected officials in Idaho to step away from public office. He and influential political players KTVB has spoken with say that's the goal so these groups get who they want in office, and who they can influence.
"Because that small group is very loud and obnoxious and harmful people pay attention and they are afraid. So my goal in all this is to help people not to be afraid of these confrontational tactics," Graf said, "Because once you understand them, and you call out abusive behavior and you expose it, they lose their power and ability to intimidate... I want Idaho to be a wonderful place for all of us. This horrible nasty behavior, it needs to end."
7 Investigates reached out to Pruett, Hurst, and Christensen Thursday afternoon.
Since it was just filed Thursday morning, Pruett says he wasn't served any papers and his attorneys say they can't see any public documents.
Pruett said: "Apparently, the media gets to know about the lawsuit before I do and has documents that I don't have and my attorney doesn't have. Therefore, I cannot comment on the suit".
Over email, Christensen and Hurst said they were not interested in commenting.
Graf's attorney says there will be a hearing on this motion on April 28, which is when they'll formally file a lawsuit.
Specifically, this motion alleges five counts, including civil conspiracy, fraud, defamation, intentional interference with Graf's contract with his employer, and tortious interference with Graf's employment as well as his affiliation with Idaho Conservatives.
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