Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk is suing Scripps owned WTVF for $200 million because of a story that aired Wednesday evening.
Funk's attorney says in the filing that chief investigative Reporter Phil Williams' story — "Explosive allegations emerge from David Chase case" — was false.
WTVF said in an email to The Tennessean that it stands behind the story.
"While NewsChannel 5 stands behind our story, we cannot comment on pending litigation," NewsChannel 5 general manager Lyn Plantinga said in the email.
The case was filed in Davidson County Circuit Court on Thursday and names Williams and Scripps Media Inc., WTVF-NewsChannel 5's parent company, as defendants in the lawsuit.
The story included text messages Chase sent in which Chase said he felt he was being blackmailed by Funk in Chase's domestic violence case. On the July day that prosecutors dropped the domestic violence charges, Chase dropped a civil lawsuit he had filed against Metro Nashville police.
"Mr. Funk did not blackmail or attempt to blackmail David Chase," the lawsuit reads.
But the lawsuit acknowledges that Chase dismissing his federal lawsuit was a condition of the district attorney's office dropping criminal charges against Chase, though at the time the office cited concerns with Chase's girlfriend's credibility.
"Further, at no point has Mr. Funk solicited, been offered, or accepted any bribe, including during his tenure as District Attorney," the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit seeks a retraction of the story and $200 million in damages. James Kay, Funk's attorney in the matter, said in an email that the district attorney would donate any damages awarded in the case to nonprofits that help victims of domestic violence.
Williams last year was the first to report that Funk had enrolled early in a state retirement system that was more beneficial to him. The reporting led to a Tennessee attorney general investigation of Funk, which found that Funk broke the law but said he would not face criminal charges, in part because Funk agreed to pay back the benefits.