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Losing Senate candidate who claims evil state officials kept him from hiring a lawyer now has two; judge says fine, but court will not pay for either

Shiva Ayyadurai, who has taken to claiming Secretary of State William Galvin and his top election official are orchestrating a global plot involving Twitter to destroy him, last week told a judge who had been willing to dip into a court fund to help pay for one lawyer that he now has two lawyers, including one who had previously represented Hulk Hogan and Donald and Melania Trump.

In response, US District Court Judge Mark Wolf ruled today that Ayyadurai can hire both attorneys if he wants, but only at his own expense. And he cast some doubt on Ayyadurai's plan to have the lawyers help him write his legal motions and carry out depositions but to let Ayyadurai argue his own case in court.

Last month, Ayyadurai, who is suing to overturn the Sept. 1 Republican primary and to get the Twitter account he lost in February returned, told Wolf that he was representing himself because he couldn't afford a lawyer because of alleged machinations involving Twitter by Galvin and Galvin's minions that culminated in him losing his Twitter account - his main fundraising channel - in early February

Wolf said Ayyadurai had made a "plausible" enough case on the alleged interference with his campaign and raised enough interesting constitutional issues that he would dip into a court fund and help pay for a prominent downtown attorney, Howard Cooper of Todd & Weld, to represent him.

But on Thursday, Ayyadurai told the court he had retained not just Cooper but Charles Harder of Los Angeles, who represented Hulk Hogan in his successful defamation suit against Gawker, Melania Trump in a successful defamation suit against a British newspaper and Donald Trump in his successful defense of a defamation suit by Stormy Daniels.

In an order today, Wolf said the man who claims to have invented email can have all the lawyers he wants, but that the court won't be paying for any of them. Wolf also wrote that if Ayyadurai does hire the lawyers - who have yet to the judge for formal permission to join the case - he may not get to make all of his own arguments in court, that Wolf would decide that on a case by case basis. And, the judge continued, Ayyadurai needs to knock it off with his proposed schedule for discovery - interviewing potential witnesses and digging up possible evidence - at least until after a hearing among all the sides scheduled for June 15.

The Secretary of State's office and the National Association of State Election Directors, who are named in Ayyadurai's current suit, objected to having him represent himself as his own attorney with actual attorneys on his case, because of the issues that raises in such potential matters as cross examinations during a potential trial.

Twitter, which Ayyadurai is now seeking to add to his suit, expressed no opinion on his hiring decisions, but said it objected to Ayyadurai's proposed discovery order, saying that it's not yet a party to the suit, its terms of service, which he agreed to, require any case against it to be made in San Francisco and that, in any case, its First Amendment rights would bar any proposed interrogation of its executives and workers.

In the absence of extraordinary circumstances that are not present here, the First Amendment bars compelled disclosure regarding such protected editorial decisions and processes, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, prohibits subjecting Twitter to the burdens of litigation that such discovery would entail.

Separately, the Secretary of State's office, today filed a separate motion asking Wolf to toss the suit on the grounds that it violates the 11th Amendment, which bars legal actions against government officials doing their jobs absent any proof of a pattern of criminal behavior.

Ayyadurai claims the Secretary of State's office has been going after him for months, which the state counters is nonsense, that Twitter decided all on its own to ban him in February after it tightened up on election misinformation due to Jan. 6, several months after Twitter ignored the one formal complaint the state filed with the company - about a tweet alleging the state had destroyed one million ballots. In its own filing, Twitter said Ayyadurai violated a "five strikes" policy because he kept tweeting misinformation about the Massachusetts election - and said its own algorithms and personnel snared him, not the state.

Last month, Ayyadurai, who also lost a campaign against Elizabeth Warren in 2018, charged that a manual for elections officials on how to deal with election misinformation on social media was proof of the Secretary of State's global campaign against him - which he alleges involve software imported from the British Commonwealth - because it listed an official there as a contributor. The national association said that was nonsense, that, in fact, the examples of how to submit complaints to Twitter focus on what to do should Twitter ignore the complaints.

PDF icon Judge's order today78.07 KB

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new windmills with the same limp lance: news at 11."

Voting closed 60

I'll take bets.

How far away are we from Vice finally sending someone out from their "let's interview extremely suspect people" documentary squad to get a multi-part series of what it is like to be in the orbit of this level of weaponized delusions of grandeur? My money is on a year or less.

Voting closed 26

joins the QAnon crowd and its spittle-flecked advocacy of a violent overthrow of American democracy?

That seems to be the move for hardcore disconnected-from-reality Trumpies and their fascist heroes like ex-General "Let's do Myanmar" Flynn when the courts tell them to fuck right off with their dangerous anti-American lunacy.

My tip is to take the under on this delusional wannabe-somebody going that way by New Year's Eve. He's otherwise pretty much out of options for chasing a scintilla of political relevance -- or clearly more important to him, empty attention from gullible dopes -- in the Commonwealth.

He obviously has a brain, but what a ridiculous, tragically masturbatory waste of it.

Voting closed 38

He announced his 2018 campaign against Warren at a right-wing party in Washington.

And remember when the fascists held a rally on Boston Common in 2017, the week after Charlottesville, only hardly any showed up and police maintained like a 100-yard separation between them and the thousands of anti-fascist protesters who also showed up? One of the few people at the Parkman Bandstand, with a megaphone he claims malfunctioned, was Shiva Ayyadurai.

In addition to his suits against Galvin, he also has an open case in federal court against Marty Walsh and William Evans over their alleged disruption of his First Amendment rights that day.

Voting closed 21

Why doesn't he just get laid instead? Even if no woman wants him, can't he use this money to buy a hooker?

Voting closed 39

stop with your juvenile "humor".
people aren't like this because "no woman will sleep with them", nor will "a hooker" fix them.
don't perpetuate sexist culture just because you have no discernible sense of wit.

Voting closed 65

Of his obnoxiousness. Just that it might be a better use of his time.

A shame that you view a voluntary sexual transaction as "sexist."

Voting closed 29

from the man who said "buy a hooker".. you know you don't actually buy the person, right?

shame you conflate purchasing of services with the purchasing of human bodies.

and I'm not going to address your backpedaling, since it's obvious enough.

women, or lack thereof, do not cause antisocial behavior in men. full stop.

Voting closed 41

if what you were really getting at was things that would be a better use of his time (which is not at all what you were saying, just be honest), you could have put forward so many other things:

why not use the money to:

buy a flashy sportscar
take a fancy vacation
visit extravagant restaurants
install a wall-size exotic fish aquarium in his home
build the world's largest Teddy Ruxpin

and so forth..

but you went straight to "getting laid" by "buying a hooker"

why don't you explain to us why that was your first thought?

Voting closed 30

Mark Ames’s 2004 essay “We, The Spiteful” instead of clutching your pearls:


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has literally nothing to do with anything here.

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The flat truth however is that despite all of our desperate attempts to convince ourselves otherwise, America is an erogenous no man’s land. Most white males here (at least the straight ones) have either dismal sex lives or no sex lives at all. No sex, no dates worth remembering, no romance worth reliving—even though a majority of Americans experience this barrenness on a daily basis, officially, consciously, it doesn’t exist. As bad as this hurts, the pain is compounded every time you expose yourself to the cultural lies that await you at every turn–that is, every waking hour and during deep REM sleep, when the subliminal messages kick in. This wretchedness leads to a desire for vengeance, to externalize the inner famine–it leads directly to the Republican camp.

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he argues that plain, dumb spite drives a lot of working- and middle-class whites to vote Republican. I think this is proven by the limited but real popularity of the former guy and his acolytes like Taylor-Greene, Boeber and Gaetz.

They exist not to make policy, but to "own the libs" -- like they're fifth-graders jeering a rival softball team -- on social media and right-wing propaganda TV. Playground bullying and unfiltered bigotry are their version of a platform. You have to be operating out of sheer, witless malice to vote for such people, because they sure as shit aren't getting anything done for you otherwise.

The connection with sex seems a lot more tenuous. Where does Ames get his data that these economically-frustrated white men have lousy sex lives? I mean, incels are one thing, but he's talking about a much larger swath of the GOP voting bloc. He's a vivid writer, but I don't buy that argument.

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You could just go back to ignoring him, instead of making degrading sexist remarks in the comment section.

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Why did the judge ever offer to pay for any legal assistance? There's no indication Shiva is broke or otherwise unable to obtain his own representation. He's just foolish.

Even if he has a valid constitutional question (if you squint hard enough to burst vain), that alone shouldn't be grounds for free legal help when you can otherwise obtain it.

Voting closed 25

Why he offered to use a court fund to help Ayyadurai hire a lawyer is because, when you strip away his more recent conspiracy theories about Bill Galvin in his Lair of Evil under a volcano, there's an interesting First Amendment question, or as the judge put it at a hearing, "a potential law-school exam in constitutional law."

A lawyer, he reasoned, would help Ayyadurai get to the heart of his case, which asks the question: When does the First Amendment apply to a private company? Normally, it doesn't, the amendment specifically addresses government action, but did Twitter become a "state actor" and so subject to the amendment after Galvin's office filed a complaint about an Ayyadurai tweet?

The judge has said at least twice now in hearings that if the office had simply responded to what it felt was the candidate's ludicrous tweet about destroying one million ballots with a tweet of its own, we wouldn't be at this point. But instead, it filled out a Twitter complaint form - was that enough to make Twitter part of a government action? Of course, the state says Twitter ignored its complaint and that was the end of that, but that's something it can argue at trial, if it gets that far.

Accepting, for the moment, Ayyadurai's argument that being deprived of his Twitter account means he can't raise funds to hire a lawyer, the judge felt the constitutional issue important enough to make an exception and help a plaintiff in a civil case hire a lawyer. He even found one with a lot of experience.

So the good doc accepts the judge's kind offer and then turns around and says, hey, I got me a second lawyer, too! And the judge was not too happy about that.

It probably didn't help that in his filing announcing the second hire, Ayyadurai said he's already spent like $1 million on the case. OK, technically, he hasn't withdrawn $1 million from his bank account, but he multiplied the number of hours he claims he's put into the case times the $1,250 he normally charges for an hour of his time. But suddenly we're dealing with somebody who maybe can afford a lawyer on his own, maybe even two.

Also, at a hearing last month, he specifically cited his lack of funding due to his Twitter account being cut off as his reason for bringing the case pro se. But in the filing where he announced his second lawyer and his $1,250 hourly consulting fee, he also charged that no lawyer in Massachusetts would take his business, on account of how evilly powerful Galvin is.

In fact, last fall, he was able to find a lawyer somehow not cowed by Galvin to file his initial two suits against Galvin. But Ayyadurai fired the guy a week later (a filing by that lawyer formally asking to be relieved from the case says he was "discharged by the Plaintiff in writing").

Voting closed 34

That connects the dots.

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Back when Our Special Guy was suing Gawker Media in 2017, Charles Harder was his lawyer.

(IIRC, this was part of a larger pattern of billionaire Peter Thiel boosting every possible lawsuit against Gawker because he flat out hated the company.)

Voting closed 25