I'd never heard of Brett Kimberlin before yesterday. Stumbled across a post over at IMAO and started reading. Here's what I can gather.
Facts: Brett Kimberlin was tried and convicted of domestic terrorism in 1981 and sentenced to fifty years in prison. He got out about ten years ago. Since then he has either founded or worked for a variety of 501(c)3 non-profit organizations which have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from various left wing groups. Federal tax records show that the Justice Through Music Project has taken in about 1.8 million in the past six years. Nothing wrong with this, so far.
Here's where it gets a little sticky. The following are allegations that have been made. I have linked to the bloggers that made the original claims as they have provided documentation and evidence for each of these claims. Kimberlin once falsely claimed that he sold pot to Dan Quayle. Kimberlin has apparently boasted to Mark Singer, the author of a book about him, that he found out how to "beat the tax people" by declaring just enough of his illegal income to keep from being flagged for an IRS audit. According to Patterico, he avoided paying wrongful death payments to the widow of the man he blew up, he contacted the employer of the wife of a blogger who spoke out about his activities, and he made false statements to a variety of courts in an effort to shut down critics. According to Time magazine, Kimberlin's websites have routinely contained substantial and frequent lies about various political issues, attacking conservative and Republican politicians with accusations about stolen elections, even though their 501(c) status actually prohibits this.
A variety of bloggers, concerned by some of his activities, have written about him. Lee Stranahan, Andrew Breitbart, Stacy McCain, and others. Kimberlin apparently then started a campaign of filing lawsuits against anyone who mentioned his criminal past. He somehow won a lawsuit forcing Stranahan to remove his posts, even though they were factual.
Aaron Walker, over at Allergic2Bull lost his job because his employer was concerned that Kimberlin might show up at his workplace, in addition to being the target of several lawsuits and a false accusation of assault (an accusation which was disproven by the security cameras at the courthouse at which it allegedly took place). Inexplicably the State of Maryland refused to take action against Kimberlin in spite of documentation of filing of false charges and lying under oath.
Stacy McCain has gone into hiding, for reasons which he has not yet disclosed. He felt threatened enough that he needed to leave Maryland.
So why am I posting this. Ace of Spades made the following comment about Brett Kimberlin:
Cowards die a thousand deaths.
I already died 40 cowards’ deaths this past week. That’s enough for me. I will die no more of them.
Am I to understand only the smallest, least-well-financed bloggers are going to be covering this? While large media franchises with lawyers on retainer all decide “we’d rather let tiny one-man blogs take the lead on this?”
Does that make sense?
This is the post that got me thinking. Kimberlin could come after me but he can't go after everyone. He is making life miserable and dangerous for many of the bloggers I have linked to above. Lee Stranahan made the suggestion for Everyone Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day, Ace picked up on it, and I am jumping on board.
The actions that Brett Kimberlin is taking are an outrage to our justice system and to a free country. The idea that a convicted felon with a history of perjury and IRS fraud is being given tax exempt status to carry out nakedly political attacks is wrong. The fact that someone can harass an individual into hiding or bankruptcy for making factually true statements is wrong. The actions outlined at the blogs above and that I have summarized here are a blatant abuse of our justice system. Our justice system is supposed to be about justice. Period. For an individual to routinely use it to suppress the free speech rights of others is wrong and needs to be addressed. I am willing to stand up and say that it is wrong.
So what is the solution? Am I just ranting without proposing anything concrete to fix the problem? Not this time.
1) Prosecutors around the country need to know that this behavior is unacceptable. When people commit perjury, documented lies in an attempt to harm others, they need to be prosecuted. For too long we have let the little lies slide.
2) The laws need to be changed so that when someone like Kimberlin takes advantage of the system, there is recourse. One suggestion, which I quite like at first glance, is that when someone has filed multiple lawsuits in this type of action, and lost them all, that they be required a) to file a bond to pay for the court costs in future lawsuits, and b) that all future lawsuits be reviewed by a judge prior to filing. This would not prevent the legitimately wronged party from filing a suite, but would dampen the enthusiasm of those who file multiple, baseless lawsuits in an effort to harass their critics or opponents. I would point out that this has been successfully implemented in some areas (SLAP lawsuits I believe they are called) to prevent businesses from suing their opponents out of business.
Meanwhile, on the issue of Kimberlin, you can contact the Maryland Prosecutor to find out why he has not been charged.