Last Updated: December 15, 2011
Judicial Watch brought suit against Jesse Jackson, Jonathan Jackson (his son), and Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on behalf of Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, a conservative, black minister and founder of the Los Angeles-based Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny (BOND).The case arose from a December 2001 meeting at which Jackson and his son verbally and physically assaulted Rev. Peterson. The meeting featured the announcement of a new minority outreach program that Toyota Motor Sales Company had created in response to threats by Jackson to boycott the car maker because one of Toyota’s advertisements allegedly was racist. When Rev. Peterson asked a Toyota official how a conservative, black organization like BOND could participate in the new program without going through Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Jackson branded him a “parasite” “trying to pick up apples from trees he didn’t shake.”Shortly thereafter, Jonathan Jackson physically struck Rev. Peterson and cursed at him. Jesse Jackson then angrily told the crowd of mostly Jackson supporters to get Rev. Peterson out of the room. Judicial Watch filed assault, battery, civil rights, and other claims against Jackson, Jonathan, and Rainbow/PUSH on Rev. Peterson’s behalf.Judicial Watch tried the case before a jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and the jury deliberated for three days. Rev. Peterson had not suffered any lasting physical injuries, and the jury returned a verdict for the defendants on all but one count, on which the jury deadlocked. Ultimately, the parties reached a settlement. Nonetheless, Judicial Watch succeeded in bringing Jackson into court to answer for his wrongful conduct and highlighted Jackson’s dubious business practices and thuggish behavior towards perceived adversaries.
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