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6th Circuit Upholds Jury Award Against Andrew Shirvell


A federal appeals court has upheld a multi-million dollar judgment against a man who stalked and harassed a gay University of Michigan student leader.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.

Andrew Shirvell says his comments and behavior were protected by the First Amendment and U-of-M Student Body President Chris Armstrong’s status as a public figure. He also said the jury award of was excessive.

The US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals knocked the judgment down to three and a half million dollars. But other than that upheld the judgment, saying Shirvell’s behavior went beyond simple speech and protest. Shirvell devoted a website to attacking the student leader, and made false claims about Armstrong’s private life, staked out his house and followed him to parties and public events. As a result, Shirvell was fired from his job as an assistant state attorney general.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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