A former assistant attorney general who was fired for his hate campaign against a gay Michigan university student has been ordered by a jury to pay $4.5 million to the victim in a decision handed down Thursday.
Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, won on all counts and was awarded $4.5 million, Armstrong’s attorney, Deborah Gordon, told the Free Press.
Shirvell, who is unemployed and acted as his own attorney, said he’ll appeal the case all the way to the Supreme Court if he has to, claiming it will be a “landmark” First Amendment case.
“It’s absolutely, 100% outrageous,” he told the Free Press. “It’s way excessive.
“The whole case is about politics. Every conservative Christian in the nation should be scared from this. This is the radical homosexual lobby trying to make an example out of me. Every conservative Christian in the nation should know that they are going to come after you if you object to their lifestyle, that they are going to crucify you in the public arena.”
Gordon disputed that.
“Who is this radical homosexual lobby? Is it me?
“This man had to be held accountable. It was the wrong thing to do. He lives in a delusional world.
“There were some conservative Christians on the jury, and they spoke very forcefully about why they had to issue this judgment.”
In 2010 Andrew Shirvell, formerly assistant attorney general to Mike Cox, created an online campaign against Michigan University’s then-student body president Chris Armstrong called the “Chris Armstrong Watch” blog.
As Care2 reported at the time, Shirvell, a Michigan alumnus, made several demonstrably false and defamatory claims against Armstrong, not least of which was that Armstrong, who is openly gay, was leading a homosexual agenda against Christian rights at the university. He also assailed Armstrong with accusations of facilitating underage drinking, unlawful sex parties, and that he had “elitist” KKK ties–all of this designed to pressure Armstrong into resigning.
AG Mike Cox began an investigation and later fired Shirvell after he learned of evidence that Shirvell had used the department’s computers in order to wage his campaign, something that clearly fell outside the bounds of political speech.
Indeed, Cox’s office issued the following as part of statement explaining why Shirvell had been fired, the charges being quite damning:
[Shirvell] showed up at the home of a private citizen [Armstrong] three separate times, including once at 1:30 A.M. That incident is especially telling because it clearly was about harassing Mr. Armstrong, not engaging in free speech.
Further engaged in behavior that, while not perhaps sufficient to charge criminal stalking, was harassing, uninvited and showed a pattern that was in the everyday sense, stalking.
* Harassing Armstrong’s friends as they were socializing in Ann Arbor;
* Numerous calls to Speaker Pelosi’s office, Armstrong’s employer, in an attempt to slander Armstrong – and ultimately attempting to cause Pelosi to fire Armstrong;
* Attempting to “out” Armstrong’s friends as homosexual – several of whom were not gay.
Chris Armstrong subsequently filed a complaint with the Attorney Grievance Commission, before deciding to take the matter to court when Shirvell refused at every turn his offers to settle the case if Shirvell would only admit to wrongdoing.
Trial events saw Shirvell reprimanded by the presiding judge after Shirvell repeatedly attempted to have the majority of charges against him dropped, wasting court time with challenge after challenge. When Shirvell became irate at his lack of success the presiding judge commented that Shirvell had proved the old adage that a person should not represent themselves in court.
Shirvell, regardless, filed repeated motions to get the suit tossed before it went before a jury and then reportedly filed a motion to have the judge compel Chris Armstrong to testify about his religious beliefs and sex life, maintaining that it would expose Armstrong’s homosexual, anti-religious campaign.
As noted above, Shirvell plans to appeal.
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