The trial for a man being sued by a Whitefish woman who claims he used his neo-Nazi website to start an anti-Semitic “troll storm” against her has been set for more than a year away.
Following a meeting last week, federal Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch of Missoula scheduled Andrew Anglin's trial to start Jan. 22, 2019.
In April, attorneys with the Southern Poverty Law Center — on behalf of Tanya Gersh — filed the federal lawsuit against Anglin, who runs the website The Daily Stormer. Last year on the site, Anglin called for his readers to harass Gersh and her family over her dealings with the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer, who is a part-time Whitefish resident.
The trial date has the potential to shift, especially after a ruling on Anglin’s motion to dismiss the case entirely, which was filed in late November.
Earlier this month, both sides filed preliminary statements in the case.
Gersh’s suit reiterated her claims that Anglin’s repeated stories about her in The Daily Stormer, along with her contact information and requests that his readers harass her, led to more than 700 threatening messages, with spikes in the frequency each time Anglin put up a new story.
“Mr. Anglin deliberately initiated a systematic campaign of harassment of Ms. Gersh,” her attorneys wrote in their court filing.
Gersh initially became the subject of Anglin’s posts after dealings with the mother of Spencer, a prominent figure in the white nationalist movement. Spencer’s mother Sherry owns a commercial building in Whitefish. Gersh, a real estate agent, initially convinced Sherry Spencer to sell the property — but Sherry Spencer later wrote a blog post saying Gersh had threatened demonstrations outside her property unless she sold it.
In their pretrial statement, Anglin’s attorneys said their client agreed that Gersh’s behavior was extortion, and that he “wrote a series of articles criticizing (Gersh) and encouraging others to protest.”
Gersh's claims "arise solely from (Anglin’s) First Amendment protected speech,” Anglin’s attorneys wrote.
One of Anglin’s attorneys is Marc Randazza of Las Vegas, who specializes in free speech and adult entertainment cases.
Anglin's attorneys claim that all of the information he published was publicly available and therefore is not an invasion of privacy, as Gersh claims in her lawsuit, and that Anglin never contacted her directly.
Anglin’s attorneys also say that the federal suit must be tossed in part because Anglin is “not a citizen of any state” and therefore the court lacks any jurisdiction over him. Gersh’s attorneys believe Anglin is living in Ohio.