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David Rivera fights off old, nasty attack

As he seeks to jump from the Legislature to Congress, Republican state Rep. David Rivera is fighting off a nasty attack from his GOP rivals -- an allegation that he was accused of domestic violence in the 1990s.

One of Rivera's opponents in the Republican primary, Paul Crespo, has raised the issue on a website. Another opponent, Marili Cancio, repeated the allegations in a television interview earlier this month.

Rivera denies he was ever accused of domestic violence -- a charge first raised in 2002, during his first political campaign. In a written statement to The Miami Herald, Rivera slammed his opponents for trying to ``libel, slander and defame my character.''

The allegation arises from a 1994 petition for a domestic-violence restraining order filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against one David M. Rivera. The court file has been destroyed -- by law, family court files are not retained after five years -- along with any details or additional identifying information. Only a computer record of the docket is available today.

The restraining order was dropped after a month, and no criminal charges were filed, records show. But inconsistencies in Rivera's responses to the claim in years past and today have helped make it a campaign issue heading into the Aug. 24 Republican primary, a Miami Herald/WFOR-CBS 4 review has found. Full story here.