In a victory for the First Amendment and citizen journalism, blogger Aaron Walker won a decisive victory over convicted felon and left-wing activist Brett Kimberlin in a Maryland courtroom today. Judge Nelson Rupp ruled that Walker blogging about his belief that Kimberlin framed him for a crime was not harassment, overturning an earlier ruling that stated that Walker, who writes at Allergic To Bull, was not allowed to blog about Brett Kimberlin "in any way."
In the first hearing, on May 30th, Judge Cornelius Vaughey ruled that blogging about Kimberlin qualified as "contact" with him, and proceeded to order Walker not to write about Kimberlin in any way--including, he added, blogging, tweeting, sending smoke signals, using radar, sonar, or laser.
Today’s hearing was before a new judge, who seemed to be well aware of relevant case law that had been neglected in the prior hearing. The issue was not whether Walker’s claims that Kimberlin had attempted to frame him were true or not, nor did Judge Rupp rule on that issue. The matter before the court was about whether Mr. Walker’s writings on the subject on his own blog were “contact” as defined by Maryland’s peace order statute.
Walker, who has written about the "Story I Couldn't Tell" (Parts I, II, III, IV and V) in the last few days, writes this about the hearing today.
Of course the highlight of the hearing came when my attorney sought to cross examine Kimberlin. Of course he gave Kimberlin an epic cross-examination back on April 11, but today he was more focused but equally effective. Interestingly, he didn’t go through the entirety of Kimberlin’s criminal history, or indeed any of it. But he did ask Kimberlin about when I was SWATted, about a week and a half ago and Kimberlin went into a rage at the suggestion. He called it a “despicable” question, falsely claiming that I and others had blamed him for it “without a shred of evidence” (in fact when I wrote about the SWATting, and talked about it on the radio, I was careful not to blame him because I can’t prove he had anything to do with it). But he was absolutely furious at even the simple question of whether or not he was involved in it, shaking his finger at my attorney in rage and saying to him, “You’re harassing me” by even asking the question. That is, a lawyer asking a person a question in court is harassment, according to Kimberlin.
My lawyer replied by saying something close to this: “I am just asking you a yes or no question.”
Kimberlin at that point finally actually bothered to deny it, and denied asking anyone to SWAT me.
I didn’t think to look at Judge Rupp at that moment when Kimberlin accused Mr. Bours of harassing him to gauge the judge’s reaction, but I can’t think that went over well.
Another fascinating point is that Kimberlin professes to believe that I could stop all interest in his case, myself, which means he just simply doesn’t understand what is happening. Yes, it is self-evident that my massive post kicked off this renewed interest in the career and criminal conduct of Brett Kimberlin, but first, I suspect this was going to explode onto the internet sooner or later and second, it is right now as much being pushed forward by other events as anything I have written about him. First, even if I never wrote my post about Kimberlin, I know that sooner or later Patrick would have told his story and that might well have kicked up the same frenzy. Or perhaps Mandy Nagy would have told you about what happened to her. Or a fourth victim as of yet unknown. The reason why this has happened is that Kimberlin’s conduct has been shockingly reprehensible and it seems inevitable that sooner or later someone would have told a compelling story about his vile conduct. As such Kimberlin has no one to blame for this but himself for having engaged in the underlying conduct that has inspired such interest.
And second, even if the story never would have happened but for my writing—a premise I reject—as of now it has taken a life of its own. Events beyond my control—but not always beyond Kimberlin’s control—have caused this story’s profile to continually rise. For instance, Robert McCain was forced to flee from his home due to Kimberlin’s intimidation. Patrick published his account. Erick Erickson was swatted. Brett Kimberlin succeeded in getting me arrested based on false charges, in retaliation for having exercised Freedom of Expression and in fastening onto me a flagrantly unconstitutional peace order. And finally I was SWATted. Each of these events helped push the story into the stratosphere.
Kimberlin also tried the argument that since he had set up Google Alerts—commands to Google to search the entire internet for mentions of his name and to mail him those links—that writing him on the internet was equivalent to sending him an email. Judge Rupp flatly rejected the argument. This is indeed where Rupp mentioned the 122 letters in Galloway, and he noted that nothing I wrote constituted communication directed at Kimberlin. As indeed they weren’t.
...And there is one other thing to note. Neal Rauhauser was there again, and seen exchanging documents with Kimberlin, further verifying their connection.
For more information on Neal Rauhauser, .
More at Legal Insurrection.