Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Tara Cavanaugh
Andrew Shirvell, Michigan’s former assistant attorney general who was fired last fall, asked on May 6 that the lawsuit filed against him by University of Michigan graduate Chris Armstrong be dismissed.
Last month, Armstrong filed suit against Shirvell for harassment, stalking and defamation of character. Armstrong, who is openly gay, says Shirvell followed him, showed up at his home and contacted his current and future employers. Shirvell wrote about Armstrong in a blog called “Chris Armstrong Watch” and claimed that Armstrong was a radical homosexual activist. Armstrong was president of the U-M student assembly at the time.
Shirvell, who is representing himself, says in his request for dismissal that he was merely exercising his First Amendment rights by demonstrating his disagreement on the Internet and in person with Armstrong’s “political agenda.”
He also claims that Armstrong’s suit does not provide enough information to prove that Shirvell stalked Armstrong or invaded Armstrong’s privacy.
“Therefore, the Court should dismiss these claims against (Shirvell) and award such other relief as it deems appropriate, including costs, attorney fees, and any other available sanctions for having to defend against these meritless claims,” the motion concludes.
Shirvell also filed counterclaims with the motion, saying 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 (Armstrong’s) tortuous conduct.”
Shirvell was fired in November last year, after an investigation by the attorney general’s office found that Shirvell had been blogging about Armstrong on state time while using state computers. The investigation also found that Shirvell called Nancy Pelosi’s office while on state time in an attempt to get Armstrong fired from an internship.
Shirvell claims in the filing that Armstrong’s lawyer, Deborah Gordon, conspired with the attorney general’s office to get Shirvell fired.
“He was fired because there were findings made that he engaged in really significant wrongdoing,” Gordon said, noting that his firing is a matter of public record. “If he was fired wrongly I think he needs to be suing the attorney general’s office.”
“Mr. Armstrong’s lawsuit is politically motivated,” Shirvell wrote in an email to the Detroit Free Press. “For months, Mr. Armstrong has garnered publicity for himself and for his political agenda by trashing me in the media. The lawsuit filed on April 1st is nothing more than Mr. Armstrong’s latest publicity stunt. It is entirely without merit and totally devoid of reality. Mr. Armstrong has suffered no damages. I am confident that the Court will ultimately throw-out Mr. Armstrong’s baseless lawsuit and that my First Amendment rights will be upheld.”
“He needs to take some responsibility for his actions,” Gordon said. “That’s something he has as of yet been incapable of doing and I think you can see that from these pleadings he’s filed. He needs to take responsibility, retract, and put this behind him. I don’t know where he’s going with all of this.”