Trials & Litigation

Federal Jury Awards $4.5M to University of Michigan Student Targeted in Fired Ex-Prosecutor's Blog

Andrew Shirvell, a former Michigan assistant attorney general who in a blog and on Facebook accused a college student of enticing minors with alcohol and recruiting people to be gay, was found liable for the man’s defamation and emotional distress yesterday.

A federal jury awarded Christopher Armstrong, a University of Michigan 2011 graduate who is gay, $4.5 million, the Associated Press reports. Shirvell, who represents himself and argued First Amendment protection, says he plans to appeal.

Armstrong served as the University of Michigan’s student body president. Shirvell says his writings and actions he took while visiting the Ann Arbor campus were made “as a movement to get” Armstrong to resign from the leadership position.

Shirvell nixed an offer to apologize and retract his comments in exchange for the lawsuit being dropped. According the Associated Press, Shirvell lost his state job in 2010 over his criticism of Armstrong and is currently unemployed.

“There’s no way I could possibly ever pay such a judgment,” he said about Thursday’s award.

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