By Wes Woods, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 10/08/13, 9:09 PM PDT |

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> The civil lawsuit that marijuana activist Lanny Swerdlow filed against founder and president of the Coalition for a Drug Free California Paul Chabot started Tuesday with opening statements and testimony from Swerdlow, who is representing himself, and other witnesses.

“I am a nurse, not a lawyer. I think that’s very obvious. I’m very lucky. He’s a very understanding judge,” said Swerdlow of Judge Joseph Brisco after court testimony concluded late Tuesday.

Swerdlow told jurors on Tuesday he was invited to an October 2007 Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition meeting in Rancho Cucamonga, which he was later kicked out of and subsequently arrested for, despite receiving an email from the coalition that said they “welcomed him.”

The activist’s civil suit against Chabot seeks punitive damages of $1 million for false arrest and malicious prosecution. Jury selection for the civil suit was completed on Monday, and testimony began Tuesday.

Chabot and his attorney Andrew Haynal dispute the claims and have filed a counter suit against Swerdlow. Chabot claims the activist battered him (which Swerdlow denies), and they’re asking for attorneys fees.

While Swerdlow was able to call witnesses to the stand on Tuesday, Chabot’s side did not before the hearing ended for the day.

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