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The Lawsuit Continues, 2nd Rally Planned & Some Details You Didn't Have Earlier

Yes Kids, it's still going on. I'm stilling holding firm to your private browsing information - including the IP addresses that three Bryant City Councilmen would like to get their hands on to prosecute you for exercising your First Amendment Right to speak freely without fear of harm. And to speak particularly about those people in elected office. Those people who were elected to serve the public, not sue them. 

Let's look back in time at what unfolded, shall we? In the following video from Today's THV, Dave Elswick of KARN and I both give the short story of what happened in February with city government in Bryant, Arkansas.

Fox 16's Katherine Johnson also did a great job of covering the story (click below).

http://www.fox16.com/news/story/Bryant-council-members-sue-anonymou...


Here are the event listings for the first Freedom of Speech Rally (+ Benefit for Legal Fees) that we held in March.

There were plenty of "yes" RSVPs, but the weather turned cold and rainy that evening, so fewer showed up than expected.


Now that the plaintiffs, Adrian Henley, Brenda Miller and Danny Steele, have filed the papers that actually contain the statements they believe are defamatory - it has been filed under seal, meaning the public can't get a look at it - I'm still holding the bag for legal fees, since I needed an attorney to protect my interest in keeping MySaline.com members' privacy PRIVATE.


Nevermind that whatever statements these City Councilmen took offense to, they have done nothing but draw tons more attention to...

Nevermind that these City Councilmen had their own website, www.ImprovingBryant.com, which was used exclusively to exercise their own First Amendment Rights in bashing the current mayor, Jill Dabbs...

Nevermind that most folks in elected office would concern themselves with what's for the good of those whom they serve...

These plaintiffs have filed their specific claims under seal because they contend that MySaline.com and/or Shelli Russell has made a "media circus" out of this case. It is this contention that I will now rebut:

  1. I was served with a subpoena around 400pm, Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012, asking for your (MySaline.com members and other visitors) private browsing information and a record of content dating back to March 2011. I told no one outside of my immediate family and very closest friends. Perhaps five trusted contacts.
  2. About 9pm Wednesday evening, I was contacted by The Saline Courier's Editor, Brent Davis, who asked whether I could confirm that I had been served with such a subpoena. I told him I was unsure yet whether I wanted to go public with the news and I would call him early the next day, respective of his deadline.
  3. About 730am Thursday, Arkansas Times' Max Brantley had the story on his Arkansas Blog.
  4. KATV Channel 7's Katherina Yancy emailed me around 10:30am Thursday, requesting I phone her to set up an interview regarding the story.
  5. Fox 16's Katherine Johnson emailed me about 230pm Thursday, also requesting an interview about it.
  6. KARN's Dave Elswick had guests from Saline County on his radio show that afternoon - State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, Sheriff Bruce Pennington and Circuit Clerk Dennis Milligan. They were on the show to discuss a legislative matter, but Elswick began asking them about what was going on in Bryant. I phoned the show to let Dave know I was willing to talk about it, if my website - my personal, one-owner, small business was going to be discussed.

The instance in #6 was the only time I initiated contact with the media, and only because they were already talking about me. But all these media outlets somehow knew of the case without my help. This would point to the plaintiff as the "ring leader" of the "media circus."

(I won't tell you folks who to vote for, but my preference would be someone who pays attention to the needs of the City, not someone who continuously blocks progress by stirring the pot.)


I'll post a simplified version of the coming 2nd MySaline.com Freedom of Speech Rally + Fundraiser for Legal Fees in the events section, but to let you know here, it's planned for Friday, June 1st, 2012 at Denton's Back Porch. KARN's Dave Elswick will broadcast live from the porch from 2-530pm, Comedian Michael "Doc" Davis will emcee the evening, and seasoned blues band Clover Blue will entertain at 9pm. Performer at 8pm to be determined.


Related stories on MySaline.com: http://www.mysaline.com/page/documents-posts-relating-to-lawsuit-ag... 

Related entries from Google.com:

  1. MySaline hosts 'Freedom of Speech Rally' at Denton's Trotline ... 

    bentonbryant.todaysthv.com/.../88324-mysaline-hosts-freedom-speec...
    Mar 8, 2012 – BENTON, Ark. -- When three Bryant aldermen sued to reveal the names of their online detractors, Shelli Russell found herself caught in the ...
  2. MySaline holds 'Freedom of Speech Rally' at Denton's Thursday ... 

    bentonbryant.todaysthv.com/.../88033-mysaline-holds-freedom-spee...
    Mar 6, 2012 – MySaline holds 'Freedom of Speech Rally' at Denton's Thursday. Submitted by Jay Jackson, Community Web Producer. Tuesday, March 6th ...
  3. MySaline.com 'Freedom of Speech Rally and Benefit' | Events ... 

    bentonbryant.todaysthv.com/.../87502-mysalinecom-freedom-speech...
    Feb 28, 2012 – Print E-mail. MySaline.com 'Freedom of Speech Rally and Benefit'.MySaline.com is organizing a 'Freedom of Speechrally at Denton's Trotline ...

  4. Hang your banner at the Freedom of Speech Rally - MySaline.com 

    www.mysaline.com/.../hang-your-banner-at-the-freedom-of-speech-r...
    Mar 5, 2012 – Businesses and Political Candidates: Hang your banner on the stage at the big MySaline Freedom of Speech Rally and Benefit Thursday night ...
  5. MySaline.com Freedom of Speech Rally & Benefit - MySaline.com 

    www.mysaline.com/xn/detail/873760%3AEvent%3A304281
    COME SUPPORT MYSALINE & FREEDOM OF SPEECH WITH DAVE ELSWICK • ANGRY PATRICK MICHAEL SHIPP • EXIT ONE ELEVEN MARCH 8TH @ ...
  6. Photos from Free Speech Rally? - MySaline.com 

    www.mysaline.com/xn/detail/873760:Topic:306059?xg_source...
    Mar 8, 2012 – If you are headed out to Denton's Trotline tonight for the Freedom of Speech Rally and Benefit for MySaline.com, please email your photos to ...
  7. MySaline.com Freedom of Speech Rally + Benefit | Facebook 

    What's happenin? 2-530pm -- KARN's Dave Elswick will do his radio show live at Denton's Back Porch, and Shelli will be there to take donations from those folks ...
  8. News Free Speech Rally gathers support for bloggers ... - Fox 16 

    www.fox16.com/.../Free-Speech-Rally.../5aUBny5jo02LrFvsJKl8HQ....
    Mar 11, 2012 – SALINE COUNTY,AR - It may look like a bar full of booze, but people gathering at the mysaline.com free speech rally mean business.
  9. Mysaline.com Freedom of Speech Rally & Benefit | Denton's Trotline ... 

    www.arktimes.com/.../mysalinecom-freedom-of-speech-rally.../Event...
    Mar 8, 2012 – Including KARN's Dave Elswick, Angry Patrick, Michael Shipp and Exit One Eleven.
  10. Free Speech Rally gathers support for bloggers ... - CW Arkansas 

    www.cwarkansas.com/.../Free-Speech-Rally.../5aUBny5jo02LrFvsJKl...
    SALINE COUNTY,AR - It may look like a bar full of booze, but people gathering at themysaline.com free speech rally mean business. "Your skin had better get ...



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Comment by Ricky David Tripp on May 14, 2012 at 9:52pm

Powerful, concise, direct, unshaken, even defiant -- that's you, Shadow.  More power to ya, sir.  My personal opinion, however, is that I don't think you will have to lift a finger.  Everyone in town that I'm talking to is saying the same thing -- these three are political toast.  In just six short months, many believe we will be rid of them for good, and they will view even that as an attack.

And my few friends in the legal profession all, one and all, say the same thing about the lawsuit -- enjoy it while it lasts.  Have those rallies at Denton's, raise money for Shelli (I will be making another contribution of my own soon), and rattle their cages over First Amendment issues, using this as an educational experience.

The actual suit itself?  All say that it is going nowhere, and that "sealing the files" was simply posturing to make it appear that the content is somehow compelling or even explosive.  Their problem is a pretty obvious one.  I have read virtually all of your posts on these three, and most of the posts on all but one of the other "defendants," and guess what?

No libel.  Nothing even close to it.  It comes down to what Elswick said -- if you're a public official, you're going to be criticized and you'd better learn to take it.  And if the heat is too hot, he said, you'd better get out of the kitchen.  But that's not how these three roll, Shadow.  They aren't supposed to lose.  In case no one has noticed, the Mayor is no longer on the run.  She has an important guy in jail right now over a missing $50,000 and we STILL don't know how much more is waiting in the wings.

Meanwhile, the city is running just fine, the signature issues have been resolved, the city has NOT gone bankrupt (as these three were trying to claim), no laws have been broken, the city staff isn't coming to work trembling in chains each day, afraid to speak, and no one else has been fired from a position.  A new financial director is in the house, and speaking of the house, he's busy cleaning it.

No more Mayor On The Run, and you were right again, Shadow -- recall is dead.  I have friends who laugh and say, "Oh, just let them come to my door.  They will be running like rabbits when I'm done with them."  "If they want a piece of my mind, just ask me to sign one of those lousy petitions," etc., etc., etc.  That is the loneliest, saddest job I can think of -- a walking Dabbs recall petitioner.

All those slammed doors.  All that rejection.  All that humiliation.  It's sad, Shadow, really, that's what it is.  I can only imagine what you are thinking as you read this.  It's not pretty, I'm sure.

 

 

Comment by The Shadow on May 14, 2012 at 2:37am

Delete Comment

A STATEMENT FROM THE SHADOW....

Speaking as arguably the leading "defendant" in this gutless lawsuit, let me tell you exactly where I am with this, and I'm likely speaking for many if not all of the others as well....

I'm not hiring ANY legal representation until and unless these buffoons find a way to hunt me down.

Knowing what I know -- that there is NO legal way to that information -- I will wait quietly and see what they do next.  IP addresses won't get them there.  They are "dynamic" and change every 24 hours.  No ISP is going to release information in the absence of a Federal court order.

That means this has to somehow become a CRIMINAL rather than CIVIL action.

Now, here's the real revelation for the Dark Three: THERE IS NO CRIME.

No one on their list libeled them, harmed them, hurt their feelings or damaged them in any demonstrative way deserving of damages OTHER than to expose them for the malcontents and misfits that they are.  To hold that opinion of them, based on their actions and conduct as public figures, is NOT to libel them.

In turn, it follows that I don't give a rat's damn what is in their "sealed" file because I ALREADY KNOW -- THERE IS NOTHING!!!!!!!!

What they have inserted there are statements taken out of context, with the contextual background of any statements redacted so that it can appear that they have been harmed.  A good case in point involves a statement made by some nitwit claiming that Tripp (who to the best of my knowledge is not on the list with me) had "physically threatened" her with a statement he had made.

It was, words to the effect, of telling her that his next posting would metaphorically "slam" her supposed "facts" AND her into a "brick wall."  THIS WAS NOT LITERAL!!  As it was pointed out, she was a pseudonymous writer herself who could not have been located in the first place, and the statement clearly and metaphorically referred to the POSTING as having an impact that he likened to "slamming" her into a brick wall becaise of the strength of the information.

No actual posting could do such a thing, revealing it as pure hyperbole.  But if such a thing were written by ME, it would be contextualized as a threatened act of violence.

Yes, that's just how stupid this all is.  And the "sealed files" of these three absolutely politically doomed individuals contains no more and no less than such distortions.  It was already leaked to me that the "files" contain numerous redacted statements, withdrawn completely from context to make them appear as black and threatening as possible, isolating individual criticisms and even name-calling from angry bloggers enraged over THEIR blatant abuses of the mayor, inferring that she was a thief, a criminal, a career destroyer, an abuser of power and even a tyrant.  NO PROBLEM with THEM making such inferences, but if anyone dares criticize THEM, oh dear God, HELL will be paid.

Just go to www.improvingbryant.com and read the sheer crap posted by Adrian Henley, all the while claiming to be a "committee" of UNKNOWN people who dared not reveal THEIR identities.  The website is full of unbridled hatred of Jill Dabbs, twisting and torturing every event scripted by them into some act of criminal misconduct -- and THEY are supposed to get a pass.

These dolts could possibly find a way to me -- but ONLY if they break the law to do it, lie or otherwise misrepresent themselves, or find some way WITHOUT REAL EVIDENCE to get their case to a criminal level despite the fact that NONE of us has committed any crime. 

Remember -- it does NOT matter if a SLAPP lawsuit has real merit.  That's why it's called a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.  Though groundless and though that fact is known to the accusers, it is supposed to be tested through legal process to make that determination, and in so doing must divulge the identities of the accused to determine the merit of the charges.

Once exposed to the wrath of the accusers, their cover having been ripped away, then the lawsuit falls for lack of evidence, merit or legal argument -- but it's too late.  And the accusers DON'T CARE.  The REAL reason for the suit becomes evident -- TO EXPOSE THE ACCUSED TO RETALIATION. 

With identities in hand, now the accusers can savage their detractors in all manners of fashion, both legal and illegal, moral and immoral, legitimate and illegitimate.

Backgrounds can be combed for details, such as tax liens, failed businesses, angry former spouses, past indiscretions, or even something that could possibly be planted.  Their jobs could be endangered, their employers incensed if they are employed under non-participation rules regarding political issues.  Potentially humiliating information could be dregged up from years ago, and used to destroy business credibility, marriages, friendships, virtually anything to make the lives of their crtics miserable so as to SILENCE THEM and bar them from challenging their power and authority.

This is part of the reason that Shelli Russell, the HERO OF SALINE COUNTY, is bravely standing up to these brazen pseudo-politicians and protecting her members and her website from their onslaught.  It is not a fight she wants any more than I do -- but one that this brave woman will not shrink from.

I WILL NOT BEND TO THESE THREE EITHER!!  I owe Shelli no less than to support her.  And if they are so unfortunate as to actually find me, or try to come after me and savage me in such a fashion, they will find me to be a formidable warrior for the First Amendment.  The very few who do know who I am have already been approached by no fewer than three major attorneys of stunning pedigree prepared to represent me and my fellow litigants pro bono.

And trust me when I tell you -- in the ensuing countersuits, we would be seeking damages sure to give these three unfit public servants night sweats.  I do not fear any of them or their attorney.  I do not seek to encounter them in a court of law, having done NO wrong whatsoever.  I would just as readily prefer that their lawsuit be branded the SLAPP LAWSUIT that is most DEFINITELY IS, see it DISMISSED and go on about my life.  I do not welcome the conflict.

But should it come to me, against my will, it will be met with the full measure of my wrath.  I will not be backed into a corner, and I will not be silenced, nor will I rest until EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE THROWN OUT OF CITY HALL, never to serve as aldermen again, to the benefit of citizens in Wards 1, 3 and 4.  Qualified challengers for all but one of these positions have been found, and the one remaining candidate needed will be found.

We are taking our city back from these scoundrels, for their own offenses against the people, against the mayor, against Shelli Russell and against the Constitution in attempting to abuse process and the law for their own political purposes. 

KARN's Dave Elswick has also drawn the line in the dirt, declaring his support for us and that these three will have their posteriors handed to them on a silver platter if they violate free speech in such an arrogant and despicable way.  It is time for the judge to declare this lawsuit null and void in violation of Arkansas' anti-SLAPP laws.

I am innocent as charged, as are Lawchic, Shadidog, Concerned Citizen, Sybil and Upbeat In Bryant.  And we will tolerate the Dark Three no more.

Comment by Henry on May 10, 2012 at 1:44pm

Paula,

I believe the defendants are able to hire legal representation to have the motions filed on their behalf and still remain anonymous until the subpoena is upheld.  I could be wrong though, I am not a lawyer.

Comment by Jon Madden on May 10, 2012 at 11:15am

Your IP does not give them much of anything if it is your personal computer.  If you are on a large network, ie. work, then it more than likely will give them the owner of the network based on the first three numbers of the IP.  Sort of a first point to start digging, but these 3 political rejects are not interested in anything but trying to bully those exercising their 1st Amendment rights.  And yes, I think the public court of opinion is that these 3 are done politically.  The will of the majority in Bryant was made known by Mayor Dabbs election and these 3 simply don't like the taste of the water in the pool anymore.  

Comment by Ricky David Tripp on May 10, 2012 at 2:20am

Undertaker outed you, or appeared to, TheTruth because a response came from Steele within minutes of a challenge to your screen name, bringing up all sorts of issues.  You deny being Steele, yet you go after the Undertaker, claiming it's me or Meyer tapping the keys.  Meyer, in particular, finds such charges to be hilarious since he NEVER blogs.

Comment by Sam Turkeyhunter Jones on May 9, 2012 at 10:48pm

I went back and read the documents and some of the posts regarding the lawsuit.  What is apparent to me is that the lawsuit is about libel.  Yvonne Oxford Dougherty devoted an entire blog post to Is Freedom of Speech Absolute.  In it she says no, that sometimes speech has limits and especially when it violates the rights of someone else if it is libelous.  I don't believe everything I read on social media sites so when the defendants start complaining about free speech and SLAPP lawsuits I think it should be left to the court system to decide.  Defendants almost always deny wrongdoing.  Because libel can be difficult to prove I doubt the plaintiffs and attorney would have decided to file the suit if they did not feel there is a strong case.  Just my thoughts on the matter.  I am not an attorney but it seems My Saline has an overwhelming number of self-proclaimed lawyers.  There are some lawyers and those in the legal field who post occasionally and I respect their opinions.  Regarding free speech, I read Ricky Tripp's comment admitting there are limits to free speech and he said going into a theater and yelling "fire" is one of the limits.   Yvonne Dougherty's Is Freedom of Speech Absolute is well written and is a reminder to all of us to enjoy our free speech, but remember it is not absolute.  

Comment by Denise T. on May 9, 2012 at 3:05pm

Yes.  That would come from the defendants, unless Shelli files a Motion to Intervene and then she becomes a party to the lawsuit.

Comment by Shelli Russell on May 9, 2012 at 2:53pm

Guys, we filed a Motion to Quash for the subpoena, but I'm not being sued, so I guess someone else has to do that.

Comment by Duck Bill on May 9, 2012 at 2:51pm

According to the documents, Shelli is not a defendant in this case.  Would the motion to dismiss have to come from the defendants?

Comment by Denise T. on May 9, 2012 at 2:42pm

That is right TheTruth.  Shelli's counsel should probably move to dismiss the case and not expect it to be dismissed sua sponte

Anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason at anytime.  It is a standard legal process for a Motion to Dismiss to be filed if the moving party can show the Court that the allegations in the complaint are without merit.

Maybe that is why this fundraiser is needed - so an attorney can be paid to properly proceed with the case.

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