ACLJ steps up to defend bloggers targeted over Brett Kimberlin coverage

By Michelle Malkin • June 7, 2012 12:18 PM

I’ve been telling you about First Amendment lawyers working behind the scenes to help the targets of Brett Kimberlin and his online cabal.

Kudos to the ACLJ for stepping up to the plate in the face of ongoing threats and smears. Just released:

IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2012

ACLJ DEFENDS FREE SPEECH IN BLOGOSPHERE – REPRESENTING TOP CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS TARGETED FOR HARASSMENT

(Washington, DC) – The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law, announced today it is providing legal representation to a top conservative blogger and his organization that represents hundreds of bloggers who are facing threats and intimidation tactics by those opposed to their viewpoint.

“Free speech is under attack,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “Conservative writers are now facing threats against themselves, their families, and their livelihoods merely because they’ve aggressively investigated the history and funding of radical liberals. The ACLJ has a long history of successfully defending free speech, and we look forward to defeating this latest attempt to threaten and intimidate conservatives into silence.”

The issue involves targeting a number of conservative bloggers with a dangerous and illegal tactic that’s become known as SWAT-ing (making false 911 calls sending police to the homes of bloggers, claiming a crime has occurred.) The tactic is used in retaliation for posts the conservative bloggers have written.

The ACLJ is representing Ali Akbar, a top blogger and president of the National Bloggers Club, a coalition of 300 conservative bloggers who reach millions of readers. Akbar has seen his mother’s home photographed and placed on the internet. He has also received formal notification that he may soon be sued for publishing truthful information about radical liberals and their wealthy donors.

“I’m grateful for the support of the ACLJ, and I’m confident we’ll defeat any and all legal challenges to our fundamental right to free speech,” said Akbar. “We will not be deterred in our quest for the truth.”

The ACLJ will aggressively defend the constitutionally-protected free speech rights of Akbar and his organizations.

The ACLJ’s representation of Akbar comes as Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the SWAT-ting cases to see if federal laws have been violated. In a letter to the Attorney General, Sen. Chambliss wrote: “Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels. . . Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse.”

Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice is based in Washington, D.C. and online at www.aclj.org.

Jay’s blog post is here.

Don’t forget: Donate here to support Kimberlin targets.

***

While House Republicans have not raised the issue in their hearing with AG Eric Holder this morning, look for exposure of this issue next week in the Senate as bloggers step up their pressure on Capitol Hill.

***

Previous:

GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss to DOJ: What are you doing about SWATtings?

Won’t back down: Amidst threats, National Bloggers Club announces Aaron Walker appeal; blogs to crank up pressure on Congress

Free speech blogburst: Show solidarity for targeted conservative bloggers; Update: It’s Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day; Donation fund for targets

Letter from an Indiana reader about Brett Kimberlin; Update: A tribute to Carl DeLong

Who’s funding Brett Kimberlin?

A post-Brett Kimberlin blogburst to-do list; Updated

The Brett Kimberlin nightmare continues: Aaron Walker in custody

Breakthrough: Fox covers Brett Kimberlin/ Patterico SWATting, bloggers continue pressing the story

Contempt: Free speech-trampling judge in Kimberlin case exposed; help Aaron Walker fight back

*Prediction by most involved is that Holder will do squat on it. Many blogs, Twitter and FB go dark tomorrow, Friday June 8, 2012, in protest and solidarity with the other large bloggers involved in this.  We will be joining them.*

Related:

Breaking… Blogger Aaron Walker Arrested after Maryland Hearing on Kimberlin Case – Updated

Free Speech Blogburst: Showing Solidarity for Targeted Conservative Bloggers

Brett Kimberlin Saga Takes a Bizarre Turn, Forcing Me to Leave Maryland   -  Watcher’s Council Winner 05.25.12

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
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6 Responses to ACLJ steps up to defend bloggers targeted over Brett Kimberlin coverage

  1. Pingback: Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Movies, etc… » Friday is National Day of Blogger Silence

  2. Pingback: Who Will Protect the Freedom to Blog? « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL

  3. Pingback: NATIONAL DAY OF BLOGGER SILENCE « CITIZEN.BLOGGER.1984+ GUNNY.G BLOG.EMAIL

  4. Ask Marion says:

    Just sent to me by a friend:

    This is a fantastic letter! – http://www.bobgriggs.com/seeking-a-review-of-the-conduct-of-judge-cornelius-vaughey-in-the-case-of-brett-kimberlin-v-aaron-walker/

    Friday, June 08, 2012

    John W. Debelius III, Administrative Judge
    50 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850

    Your Honor:

    Thank you for considering this request that you review the conduct of retired Judge Cornelius Vaughey in the case of Brett Kimberlin v. Aaron Walker (Montgomery Co. District Court, Criminal Division, Case #5D00279004). I believe that Judge Vaughey’s ignorance of the Internet and online discourse, and his willful disregard for well-established legal precedence regarding free speech resulted in the improper arrest and incarceration of the defendant in this case on May 29, 2012.

    Briefly, Defendant Walker, an attorney, offered limited assistance to an individual who was being sued by Complainant Kimberlin in an unrelated case (Kimberlin v. Allen, #339254v). The Defendant subsequently published certain facts about Complainant Kimberlin, a public figure and convicted domestic bomber, at the Defendant’s web site, and suggested that Kimberlin should be charged with perjury in the Allen case. At the time, Walker was writing anonymously under the name “Aaron Worthing.”

    Despite the fact that Walker’s involvement in the Allen case was minimal and had ended, Kimberlin used motions in that case to identify Walker. Kimberlin then filed for a peace order against Walker, claiming that Walker’s writings amounted to stalking and harassment. Kimberlin also sought criminal prosecution of Walker for an alleged assault outside of a Montgomery County courtroom; an assault that courthouse video proved never occurred.

    Based on Kimberlin’s now-disproven testimony, the peace order was allowed to continue to the May 29 hearing. Two days earlier, however, Kimberlin had sworn out an arrest warrant for Walker, alleging that Walker had violated the peace order. Walker was arrested at the conclusion of the hearing before Judge Vaughey.

    I have reviewed the transcripts and audio recordings of the May 29 hearing. I was appalled not only by Judge Vaughey’s lack of knowledge of the Internet, email, blogging, etc. but by his willful disregard for Brandenburg v. Ohio, the seminal U.S. Supreme Court case on inciting violent speech. When Walker cited the case, Vaughey replied, “Forget `Bradenburg` [sic]. Let’s go by `Vaughey` right now.”

    Throughout the hearing, Vaughey was rude and dismissive of Walker, who represented himself. At least twice, Vaughey called Walker “sport.” At one point, he questioned Walker’s competence by asking if he had any clients. Later, he questioned Walker’s education and threatened him with incarceration for making a valid objection:
    “THE COURT: Keep it up, I got a spot for you in the Courthouse.”

    Throughout the hearing Kimberlin, a convicted perjurer, made numerous claims upon which Vaughey apparently based his decision. At no point did Vaughey require Kimberlin to present any evidence to support his charges. Had Vaughey made even a token attempt to follow basic rules of evidence, Kimberlin’s statements could have easily been shown to be false. However, on numerous occasions Judge Vaughey interrupted Walker, preventing him from challenging Kimberlin’s claims or presenting his own evidence.

    The most alarming aspect of Vaughey’s hearing was the judge’s disregard for Brandenburg in favor of a standard of free speech of Vaughey’s own making. From the transcript:

    WALKER: But it is my right under the First Amendment to talk about what this man did to me. It is my right to tell the world what he did to me. That — Galloway v. State made it very specific on harassment–
    THE COURT: –Within reason, my friend. Within reason. [emphasis added]

    WALKER: Within reason?

    THE COURT: Within reason.

    WALKER: I have had a crime committed against me. What is unreasonable about seeking justice?

    THE COURT: You know, I shouldn’t say this, but I think you’ve got it twisted. The one who decides to prosecute the crimes is the government–

    WALKER: –Of course–

    THE COURT: –and only the government, and not you.

    WALKER: Of course, Your Honor.

    THE COURT: And you’re doing this, I think, under a guise — under this new banner of, “I’ve got the right to do.” You can’t. You can’t. Suppose you didn’t like a girl and you wanted to talk about her chastity. He feels the same way. He feels violated. And [inaudible] you have to look at the reasonableness between the two of you on the content. That’s why said, “Where’s this going?”

    Vaughey then proceeded to make Walker and his blogging responsible for Kimberlin’s unsupported claims of death threats and other harassment. When Walker told the judge that Brandenburg protected his speech, Vaughey ignored Brandenburg, then described his own sense of justice:

    THE COURT: Forget Bradenburg [sic]. Let’s go by Vaughey right now, and common sense out in the world. But you know, where I grew up in Brooklyn, when that stuff was pulled, it was settled real quickly.

    WALKER: I’m not sure what that means, your honor.

    THE COURT: –Very quickly. And I’m not going to talk about those ways, but boy, it ended fast. I even can tell you, when I grew up in my community, you wanted to date an Italian girl, you had to get the Italian boy’s permission. But that was the old neighborhoods back in the city. And it was really fair. When someone did something up there to you, your sister, your girlfriend, you got some friends to take them for a ride in the back of the truck.

    WALKER: Well, Your Honor, what–

    THE COURT: –That ended it. You guys have got this new mechanical stuff out here, the electronic stuff, that you can just ruin somebody without doing anything. But you started it.

    Finally, as Judge Vaughey rendered his decision, he displayed an incredible degree of ignorance of modern forms of speech. In concert with his disregard for Supreme Court precedence, his gross ignorance resulted in an illegal prior restraint on Walker’s speech and his arrest for exercising a constitutional right:

    THE COURT: Okay. All right, sir, this Order shall remain in effect until 11-15 2012. During that period of time, you not — shall commit any act that causes in person (ph) fear and apprehension of bodily harm, any act that places the gentleman in fear and apprehension of grave bodily harm, any assault, rape, attempted rape, sex offense, false imprisonment, harassment, stalking, [inaudible] or malicious destruction of property. The Respondent shall not contact the person in person, by telephone, in writing or any other means, and any other means is putting it on a blog, a Tweet, a megaphone, a — smoke signals — what else is out there — sonar, radar, laser, nothing.

    WALKER: So I’m not allowed to speak about him for 6 months? How about the First Amendment?

    THE COURT: How many times have you been interrupting? And you shall not contact or harass him in any way. You shall not enter his residence, wherever he may be living. You shall remain away from his place of employment, wherever that may be, he may be employed.

    Now, let me get to the — now, should this — should you violate this order, sir, you are subject to being prosecuted by the state’s attorney’s office as a criminal case, and if found guilty, the maximum penalty for the first violation is 90 days in jail and/or it’s a $500 fine, could be a $1,000 fine. Or worse than that, you could be in contempt of this court, where you could — I could do anything that I deem necessary to keep you away from — or e-mailing him or Twitting him or Googling him or Tooting him or smoking (ph) him, whatever phrase you use. I don’t know if [inaudible]. Thank you [inaudible]. [all emphasis mine]

    Your Honor, I do not know Judge Cornelius Vaughey. I have read (online, ironically) that he had a long and distinguished career as an attorney, an associate District Court judge and administrative judge. Judge Clyburn said of Vaughey, “Judge Vaughey was always concerned about conveying a positive image of the judicial branch. He was also a leader in innovative dockets and was a fair administrator who sought to deliver equal justice to all.”

    It is unfortunate that such gross ignorance and bias in contradiction of Clyburn’s accolades would manifest in the twilight of Vaughey’s career. However, no respect or honor due him should prevent you from righting such an incredible wrong and taking the steps necessary to ensure that what happened to Aaron Walker in a Montgomery County courtroom never happens again.

    Respectfully,

    h/t to AJ

  5. Pingback: We Honored National Day of Blogger Silence — Friday 06.08.12 | askmarion

  6. Pingback: Brett Kimberlin SWATs Again? Blogger Aaron Walker Tells The Blaze...

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