Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan Assistant Attorney General who was booted for harassing the student body president of the University of Michigan, Chris Armstrong, for being gay, is arguing that Armstrong’s “course of conduct” and lawsuit against him are “politically motivated and intended to make an example out of [Shirvell] in order to deter others from criticizing [Armstrong]’s homosexual activist agenda.”
Armstrong filed a lawsuit in April asking for more than $25,000 in damages for “defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, abuse of process, invasion of privacy, and stalking,” after Shirvell wrote a series of blog posts that attacked Armstrong for being gay. Among other things, Shirvell repeatedly described him as “a radical homosexual activist,” and photoshopped a picture of Armstrong next to a rainbow flag with a swastika in the middle. Shirvell would also show up at school events and parties to picket, based on information gleaned from Armstrong’s Facebook activities.
On Friday, Shirvell, who is representing himself, filed a motion for the judge to dismiss the case. He argued that he “never engaged in any direct communication with” Armstrong, and he simply “opposed [Armstrong]’s political agenda” and “began protesting [Armstrong] and his agenda both online via the internet and in-person, pursuant to his First Amendment rights.”
Shirvell also filed a number of counterclaims, claiming that as a result of Armstrong’s statements to the media and his “course of conduct” towards Shirvell, Shirvell was “improperly fired” from his position in the Michigan Attorney General’s office. He also claims that Armstrong’s lawyer conspired with the AG’s office to get him fired.
In the complaint, Shirvell says he “has suffered significant loss of income, future earnings, and the right to enjoyment of his livelihood as well as emotional distress, humiliation, mortification, embarrassment, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression as the result of Plaintiff‟s tortious conduct.”
He asks for a jury trial to determine damages.
Full coverage of Shirvell here.