Former MI Assistant Attorney General Ordered To Pay Gay Man $4.5M
Former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shivrell has been ordered to pay a gay man $4.5M in damages after waging a vicious homophobic internet campaign against him.
The U.S. District Court jury ruled in favor of Christopher Armstrong, who claimed he suffered distress after a blog created by Andrew Shirvell accused him of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to become homosexual. "I'm just incredibly humbled by what happened today," Armstrong told The Associated Press. "This is truly a victory — not just for myself, but for a lot of other kids out there." Shirvell, who was representing himself, said the jury award was "grossly excessive" for what was "clearly protected speech ... and activity." "This should have been thrown out," he said, adding that he plans to appeal. "Juries give short shrift to First Amendment rights." Armstrong accused Shirvell of defamation as well as emotional distress for his actions on the blog, in Facebook posts and during visits to the Ann Arbor campus. Then-Attorney General Mike Cox fired Shirvell in 2010 after he criticized Armstrong, who graduated last year.Armstrong had offered to drop the suit if Shirvell would apologize.