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Woman sues over claim that she had abortion after affair with Dole

February 12, 1997

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A woman has filed a lawsuit claiming she was defamed by a radio talk show host’s comment that she had an abortion after an affair with Bob Dole in the early 1970s.

Phyllis Wells Smith of Overland Park, Kan., sued Bonneville International Corp., owner of KMBZ radio. Her lawsuit alleges that in a Sept. 26 broadcast of the ``Friendly Fire″ talk show, host Steve Glorioso said Dole had an affair with a woman named Phyllis Wells in the early 1970s.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 30 in Jackson County Circuit Court, said the remark came as Glorioso, a liberal commentator and publisher of a local alternative weekly, The New Times, was discussing Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential nominee and former Kansas senator.

The suit quoted him as saying, in part: ``It’s right here in Kansas City, that he had an affair that was well-known with another woman named Phyllis Wells. She got pregnant. ... Had an abortion.″

A lawyer for Wells, James Frickleton, said Wednesday his client and Dole ``did have a public relationship in the early 1970s when they were both single. So there’s no secret about that. They dated several times and appeared at political rallies together.″ He said she did not become pregnant by Dole.

Dole was divorced in 1974 from his first wife, Phyllis Holden Dole. He married Elizabeth Dole in 1975.

The lawsuit claims negligence on the part of Bonneville and said the broadcast exposed Wells to ``public contempt and ridicule.″ Wells is seeking damages in excess of $15,000, punitive damages, costs and expenses.

Frickleton said his client, now married to a businessman, did not want to comment on the lawsuit. Glorioso told a reporter Wednesday that he would not comment.

Calls to Ron Carter, general manager of Bonneville, were not answered Wednesday afternoon. Dole’s spokesman, Clarkson Hine, said the former senator had no comment.

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