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First Amendment

Cuccinelli ‘egomaniac’ criticism by blog commenter led to my firing, says suit by ex-assistant AG

Posted Aug 6, 2013 9:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A former assistant attorney general in Virginia claims in a lawsuit that she was improperly fired because of suspicions she called her boss an “egomaniac” in an anonymous comment on a newspaper blog.

Samantha Vanterpool says she was fired because of suspicions she was the person who posted negative comments about Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Washington Post reports. The post by a person using the handle “bzbzsammy” said Cuccinelli was an “egomaniac” who was “NEVER in the AG’s office and solely uses the position for self promotion.” The comment was made on a Washington Post blog story about Cuccinelli’s campaign for governor.

Vanterpool argues that, even if she did post the comment, it did not violate a policy barring attorney general staffers from talking to the media without permission. Vanterpool says that posting a comment is different from talking to a reporter, the story says. The suit claims the firing was an unfair firing in retaliation for exercising First Amendment rights.

A Cuccinelli spokesman told the Post that the attorney general is a passionate supporter of the First Amendment “and any suggestion by a disgruntled former employee to the contrary is patently absurd.”

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