Washington, DC—Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes corruption, today announced that on January 17, 2006, Jesse Lee Peterson, et al., v. Jesse Jackson, et al. (BC 266505) will go to trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court after a ruling last week by Judge George H. Wu. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit against Jackson, his son Jonathan, and others on behalf of Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who was the victim of a physical and verbal assault at an event hosted by Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. in December 2001. Rev. Peterson is an ordained minister, who has dedicated his life to working with underprivileged black youth and men in our society.
Judicial Watch’s lawsuit stems from a public meeting held in Los Angeles, California on December 10, 2001 to discuss participation in Toyota’s “21st Century Diversity Strategy,” which had been announced after Jackson and Rainbow/PUSH threatened to boycott Toyota. After remarks from Jackson and Toyota representative Irving Miller, the meeting was opened up to questions from the audience. Rev. Peterson asked Miller if black Republicans and conservative groups like his organization, Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), would have to go through Rev. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH in order to participate in the Toyota program.
Jackson told the crowd, “And the issue, for the record . . . is not conservative or liberal. The issue is certain parasites trying to pick up fruit from trees they didn’t shake.” Rev. Peterson testified that after the “parasite” comment, the crowd became “more hostile . . .Some of the words I can’t even mention here.”
Within minutes following adjournment of the meeting, Jonathan Jackson struck Rev. Peterson and Rev. Peterson was physically threatened and verbally assaulted by both Jesse Jackson and Jonathan Jackson. Incited by Jackson’s earlier remarks, an angry crowd gathered, cursing, shoving and encircling Rev. Peterson and one of his associates. “I feared for my life,” said Peterson.