Patrick Brown told supporters at his campaign launch Sunday that he has “cleared” his name and looks forward to focusing on his efforts to regain the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

Flanked by several cheering PC candidates and party members, Brown held his first leadership campaign event in Mississauga, Ont., to say that “what has happened” to him in the last three weeks, he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy.

“To be vilified without due process is absolutely gutting. To be shunned as an outcast from a party I love over fabricated new reports, it hit my like a ton of bricks,” he said.

“It’s been devastating and that’s an understatement. Let me tell you, you learn who your true friends are,” he said as supporters erupted with chants of “Patrick! Patrick!”

Brown stepped down as Ontario PC leader three weeks ago after two women came forward to CTV News to accuse him of sexual misconduct. He has denied the allegations.

Interim PC leader Vic Fedeli kicked Brown out of caucus on Friday.

Brown said Sunday the last three weeks have given him time to clear his name.

“And I’m grateful that’s been accomplished,” he said.

He said he and his supporters have proven the events described by the two women “could not have happened.” He added he has taken two lie detector tests and “passed both with ease.”

Doing so was easy, he said, “because when the truth is on your side, you have nothing to fear.”

Brown reiterated that he plans to sue CTV News, though the network has not been served with any lawsuit.

CTV News stands by its reporting.

Brown officially joined the race to lead the Tories on Friday, shortly before the registration deadline. That move came just hours after Brown was kicked out of the Tory caucus.

The Barrie-based MPP, who will have to sit as an independent when the legislature resumes Tuesday, is now one of five candidates vying for the party's top post.

The other candidates are: veteran MPP Christine Elliott; social conservative Tanya Granic Allen; former Toronto city councilor Doug Ford; and lawyer and businessperson Caroline Mulroney.

Statement from CTV News:

CTV News stands by our reporting and will actively defend against any legal action. We welcome the opportunity to defend our journalism in court. - Matthew Garrow, Director of Communications, CTV News