Maxine Waters seen at the Justice on Trial Film Festival, on Oct. 20, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)


This week, Judge Yolanda Orozco of the Los Angeles Superior Court threw out Joe Collins’ baseless defamation lawsuit against Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) and her campaign Citizens for Waters.  Collins, the Republican challenger for Congresswoman Waters’ seat in the 43d Congressional District in the November 2020 election, which he lost by a 2-1 margin, sued over Cong. Waters’ statements that Collins had been dishonorably discharged from the Navy in 2017. Collins’ lawyer tried to convince Judge Orozco today that a federal judge’s previous decision – in which Collins’ dishonorable discharge was explicitly referenced – was not a reliable source of information. In response to the judge’s ruling, Cong. Waters released the following statement.

I am so grateful to Judge Orozco for granting our motion to throw out my opponent Joe Collins’ frivolous case against my campaign, and that the law will require him to pay my attorney’s fees. The irony is not lost on me that some of the money Collins raised from Donald Trump supporters across the country will actually be applied to my legal defense against his trash lawsuit. The fact of the matter is Joe Collins was rejected by the 43rd Congressional District because everyone saw him for what he is: a lying, conniving, fraud who has no intention of doing anything to uplift communities he took every opportunity to diminish and disparage in the local press.

“Joe Collins has no respect for our district, no respect for decency, and no respect for the law. I will never stop fighting on behalf of my district and we will never let a Donald Trump Republican come into our communities to divide and slander us. The voters in my district took a stand against Joe Collins and Donald Trump in November, and we will most certainly defeat Joe Collins when he tries to run the same playbook in 2022. We will defeat him because Joe Collins is not actually interested in getting elected to office. Running for office has become his job and a source of income to support a lifestyle as a right-wing troll and not to become a legitimate public servant. He’s not alone in this scheme and perhaps it’s time local governments and the Federal Elections Commission do something about candidates manipulating and gaming voters in the way Joe Collins and others are doing across this country.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters walks during the 35th Annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles to celebrate the life and work of the Rev. Martin

Joe Collins, who was thrown out of the Navy after attempting to run for president as a Green Party candidate while still in uniform, had previously sued the U.S. Navy for $100 million and asked that his discharge be upgraded to honorable.  In throwing out that lawsuit, a federal judge in San Diego wrote that Collins had been dishonorably discharged from the Navy – a statement that Cong. Waters relied on in her 2020 campaign.  Collins’ lawyer tried to convince Judge Orozco today that the federal judge’s decision was not a reliable source of information, but Judge Orozco rejected her argument, commenting that you “don’t usually dismiss a federal judge’s pronouncements.”

Collins has been using this lawsuit for his fundraising efforts, and vowed to appeal, which will just extend this as a fundraising tactic.  Unfortunately for him, the case was thrown out under California’s anti-SLAPP statute – a statute designed to quickly throw out “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.”  That means that Collins will be responsible for paying the defendants’ attorney’s fees for the motion and for any appeal.

In another frivolous lawsuit that was thrown out, Collins sued the County of San Diego for $100 million to try to get out of paying his child support obligations and said at the time that he only had $180 in the bank.  But running for office and raising millions from unsuspecting conservative donors has no doubt helped Joe Collins fund frivolous lawsuits and pay legal fees he couldn’t otherwise pay on his own.

In this case, Collins introduced documents showing the VA says he is “unemployable” because he is “totally and permanently disabled” – but that did not stop him from running for Congress, speaking and tweeting from Washington, D.C. on January 6, the day of the Insurrection, or from traveling all around on his campaign funds to promote the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom. This is exactly the type of dishonorable behavior we have seen from Collins before and will see from him again.