LAS VEGAS (AP) – 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 The Daily Stormer’s founder, Andrew Anglin, against a federal lawsuit that real estate agent Tanya Gersh filed against him in April.
“Everybody deserves to have their constitutional rights defended,” Randazza said. “Nobody needs the First Amendment to protect Mr. Rogers. That’s not what it’s there for.”
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 unleashed a “campaign of terror” by publishing 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.
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.
Anglin uses a mailing address in Worthington, Ohio, for his website, which takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda. The site includes sections called “Jewish Problem” and “Race War.”
Other targets of The Daily Stormer and its “Troll Army” of readers have included prominent journalists, a British Parliament member and Alex Jones, a radio host and conspiracy theorist whom Anglin derided as a “Zionist Millionaire.”
Gersh’s lawsuit said she agreed to help Richard Spencer’s mother sell commercial property she owns in Whitefish amid talk of a protest outside the building. Sherry Spencer, however, later accused Gersh of threatening and harassing her into agreeing to sell the property.
Anglin’s initial Dec. 16 post about Gersh urged readers to “take action” against her and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, posting their telephone numbers, email addresses and Twitter handles.
“And hey — if you’re in the area, maybe you should stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions,” he added.