Attorney General Tim Fox filed a motion in U.S. District Court this week to intervene in a Whitefish woman’s case against a Neo-Nazi blogger she accuses of intimidation under Montana’s anti-intimidation law.
Neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin has challenged the constitutionality of the statute, claiming it violates his First Amendment rights.
Fox seeks to intervene to defend the law, approved by voters in 1996.
“The people of Montana passed the Anti-Intimidation Act to prevent the type of intimidation and threats of violence alleged in this lawsuit,” he said. “Montanans have made it clear they support protecting each other from intimidation through the laws of our state.”
Realtor Tanya Gersh’s lawsuit against Anglin stems from a number of posts he published on his blog, The Daily Stormer, calling on like-minded followers to target Gersh.
The ensuing troll storm came in retaliation after a real estate deal fell apart between Gersh and the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer, who lived in Whitefish for a time.
In December 2017, a headline in the Daily Stormer website proclaimed: “Jews targeting Richard Spencer’s mother for harassment and extortion. Take action!”
The calls to action continued for months; Gersh said she received 700 harassing phone calls, emails and texts.
The portion of Montana’s intimidation statute challenged by Anglin states that “an individual or organization who is attempting to exercise a legally protected right and who is injured, harassed, or aggrieved by a threat or intimidation has a civil cause of action against the person engaging in the threatening or intimidating behavior.”
Gersh sued Anglin in April 2017 for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Anti-Intimidation Act.
She seeks punitive damages and is represented by attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center.