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Montgomery County Council member to pursue legal action against political attack website

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Local,Maryland,Kate Jacobson,Montgomery County,Prince Georges County

Montgomery Council Councilwoman Valerie Ervin plans to take legal action against a website that published anonymous attacks against her, as county officials rally around her in support.

The website www.valunmasked.com, which was recently circulated via an anonymous phone number, says the Silver Spring Democrat's career is "all about saying one thing and doing another," and attacks Ervin for her relationships with various politicos including her friend U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Prince George's and Montgomery counties, the Lee Development Group and major national Republican donors Charles and David Koch.

Ervin said Wednesday this isn't the first time she's been the victim of personal attacks. She said she has approached legal counsel on action she can take against the perpetrators.

"This is not the kind of thing we see [in Montgomery County]," she said. "We're better than that, and we're going to show everybody that we're going to stop these kind of attacks from happening."

Some county officials and residents are supporting Ervin, calling the attacks baseless and slanderous. County Executive Ike Leggett said Wednesday he was outraged by the website and that its existence is hurting political dialogue in the county.

"There is no room in Montgomery County politics for anonymous smear of public officials and community leaders," he said. "If you have criticism about something or someone you should own up to it."

Council President Nancy Navarro, D-Eastern County, also took to the Internet to start a petition in support of Ervin.

"I was angry when I received an anonymous attack on my friend," Navarro said. "We will not let cowards tell lies about our friend Valerie."

Ervin said the site was circulated via text message from an unlisted Maryland phone number, though she didn't personally receive a text. She was alerted by friends on Sunday of the website's existence. Public records show the number is listed in Nanjemoy, Md., in Charles County though it is not clear whether it is an automated line or a personal one. A message at the end of the line said the number was not taking calls.

The domain was bought through GoDaddy.com's Domains by Proxy privacy registration service, and a website administrator was not listed.

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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