The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Gilmore v. Jones, et al., Hearing

Posted on | November 13, 2018 | Comments Off on Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Gilmore v. Jones, et al., Hearing



Defendants in a major First Amendment case today urged a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by former State Department official Brennan Gilmore, who claims he was defamed by Alex Jones and others who criticized his activities at the August 2017 riot where a woman was killed.

Attorneys for Jones and his co-defendants, including Gateway Pundit blogger Jim Hoft and investigative journalist Lee Stranahan, not only disputed Gilmore’s claims of defamation, but also argued that the U.S. District Court for Western Virginia does not have proper jurisdiction in the case. Stranahan is a Virginia resident and, his attorney Aaron Walker argued, this fact defeats the “diversity of citizenship” requirement for federal jurisdiction over a state law case, as the plaintiff Gilmore is also a Virginia resident. Walker has filed a motion for sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorneys under Rule 11, alleging they did not exercise due diligence in their filings. (Which is not legally the same as saying “they lied,” but readers are free to draw their own conclusions.)

Gilmore was on the scene of the August 2017 riot in Charlottesville, where left-wing counter-protesters engaged in sometimes violent confrontations with white supremacists at a “Unite the Right” rally. Gilmore captured video of the fatal incident in which 20-year-old James Alex Field Jr. rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of leftist protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring several others. In subsequent TV appearances and a column for the Politico website, Gilmore sought to blame President Trump for what he called the “escalating, toxic politics of hate” that resulted in Heyer’s death.

Once Gilmore’s ties to the State Department and the Democrat Party became public knowledge, Jones accused Gilmore of being a CIA operative and suggested he was on the payroll of liberal billionaire George Soros. Some of Jones’s claims were echoed by other defendants (Hoft called Gilmore “a deep state shill with links to George Soros”) and Gilmore blames the defendants for his being targeted for harassment.

During today’s court hearing, Gilmore’s lawyers — Andrew Mendrala of the Georgetown University Civil Rights Clinic and Brianne Gorod of the Constitutional Accountability Center — repeated the assertions in their complaint that the defendants had sought to make Gilmore a “scapegoat” for the violence in Charlottesville, in order to deflect blame from right-wing white supremacists. Lawyers for the defendants, including former Republican congressman and Army Lt. Col. Allen West, mostly emphasized the jurisdictional issues in the case. However, Walker and defense attorney Andrew Grossman, representing Jones, also strongly disputed the plaintiff’s characterization of Stranahan’s comments in an interview with Lee Ann McAdoo on Jones’s InfoWars site.

Reporters for several media organizations were on hand for the hearing and, in a brief interview outside the courthouse, Walker emphasized the importance of the First Amendment issues involved. “Free speech isn’t just for people we like or opinions we agree with,” Walker said, mentioning his personal dislike for Alex Jones. Walker made reference to Supreme Court cases including Brandenburg v. Ohio. “Today, it’s Alex Jones, but tomorrow it could be the New York Times.”


I made this trip with John Hoge of Hogewash, who made a guest appearance in court as an easel, holding up a large display poster that Walker had prepared for the case. He summarizes today:

The Plaintiff’s attorneys spent most of their time trying explain why the case should be left standing in spite of the facts and law.
The judge did not rule from the bench, so it will be a while before we know whether the case will go forward.

As longtime readers know, Hoge, Walker, Stranahan and I were all co-defendants in lawsuits filed by convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin, whose pro se shuttuppery LOLsuits failed miserably. Whether the current Gilmore v. Jones et al. litigation has more merit than Kimberlin’s nuisance suits is a matter of opinion, but the whole point is that as Americans we are entitled to express our opinions, and the Gilmore suit might conceivably infringe our rights . However, while we still have our freedom, I wish to remind you of an important truth, that the Five Most Important Words in the English Language are:




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