First Amendment lawyer defending neo-Nazi website publisher

AP News
Posted: Jun 09, 2017 7:08 PM

A Las Vegas-based lawyer specializing in free-speech cases is representing the publisher of a leading neo-Nazi website who has been sued for orchestrating an anti-Semitic online trolling campaign against a Montana family.

Marc Randazza told The Associated Press on Friday that his law firm is defending Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin against a federal lawsuit that real estate agent Tanya Gersh filed against him in April.

Gersh is represented by attorneys from the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

Gersh's suit claims anonymous internet trolls bombarded her family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin published their personal information, including her 12-year-old son's Twitter handle and photo.

In a string of posts, Anglin accused Gersh and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, of engaging in an "extortion racket" against the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer.

The suit accuses Anglin of invading Gersh's privacy, intentionally inflicting "emotional distress" and violating a Montana anti-intimidation law.

Randazza, who said Anglin never directly sent any messages to Gersh, argued the suit's allegations "leave room for disagreement" over whether Anglin did anything wrong.

"Everybody deserves to have their constitutional rights defended," he said. "Nobody needs the First Amendment to protect Mr. Rogers. That's not what it's there for."

Randazza's clients have included adult entertainment websites; the 8chan online message board, a popular forum for racist internet trolls; and Mike Cernovich, a right-wing author and attorney who has promoted a conspiracy theory about Democrats running a child-sex slavery ring from a Washington pizza restaurant's basement.

"If it's unpopular and people want to shut it up, then we have represented them," Randazza said.

The Daily Stormer used a crowdfunding website, WeSearchr, to raise more than $152,000 in donations from nearly 2,000 contributors to help pay for its legal expenses.