Neo-Nazi publisher ordered to turn over personal information
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge has ordered the publisher of a neo-Nazi website to reveal his net worth and identify any phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts and technology he used when he called for his readers to unleash a “troll storm” on a Montana woman.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch on Friday ordered The Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin to comply with most of the requests in a lawsuit by Tanya Gersh. She accuses Anglin of invasion of privacy and inflicting emotional distress on her and her family after they received hundreds of harassing and anti-Semitic messages starting in late 2016.
Anglin had accused Gersh, a real estate agent in the Montana resort town of Whitefish, of seeking to force the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer to leave town in 2016 by trying to persuade her to sell her commercial property.
Anglin, who denies he’s liable for his followers’ actions, objected and called Gersh’s requests irrelevant, particularly when it came to revealing his personal information. His attorney said in a legal filing that Anglin didn’t want that information to get to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization that tracks hate groups and represents Gersh.
Anglin attorney, Marc Randazza, said Friday that he believes the Southern Poverty Law Center would misuse that personal information. But “it is our intent to comply with the court’s orders,” he added.
Lynch dismissed most of Anglin’s objections as overly broad and lacking specificity. However, he said Anglin only had to provide information within the four-month period between November 2016 and March 2017, when the harassment occurred.
The judge also narrowed Gersh’s request for all of Anglin’s bank account and cryptocurrency account information to a current financial statement “allowing for preliminary evaluation of his net worth.” Montana law allows consideration of a defendant’s net worth when punitive damages are at stake, Lynch said.
Besides the personal information, the judge also ordered Anglin to reveal any names he used to post comments on his website, identify any others involved in writing and researching the stories about Gersh, and the number of users whose access to Daily Stormer forums was suspended over the four-month period.
Information such as the phone numbers, email addresses, usernames and social media accounts could shed light on whether Anglin assisted or encouraged the campaign against Gersh or sent any of the harassing messages to her and her family, Lynch said.
In late 2016, Anglin published the phone numbers, email addresses and social media profiles of Gersh, her husband and son and wrote, “Are y’all ready for an old fashioned troll storm?” Gersh said her family received more than 700 threatening and harassing messages, many of them anti-Semitic, online and by phone and mail.
The judge declined to dismiss the case last year over Anglin’s argument that the First Amendment protects his speech.