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Michigan

Former prosecutor ordered to pay $4.5 million for defaming gay student

Thursday, August 16, 2012

DETROIT — Former state assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell was ordered to pay $4.5 million in damages after a federal jury on Thursday ruled that his blog — “Chris Armstrong Watch” — which attacked the former University of Michigan’s openly gay student body president, was in fact defamation.

ABC News

Andrew Shirvell

Shirvell alleged that Armstrong pushed a “radical homosexual agenda,” called him a Nazi, a “privileged pervert,” and accused the him of being a representative of Satan.

In April of 2011, Armstrong filed the suit against Shirvell, seeking more than $25,000 in damages.

Armstrong’s suit claimed Shirvell “developed a bizarre personal obsession” with him in early 2010 after claiming the student was a radical homosexual activist.

Attorney Deborah Gordon, who represents the former UM student who graduated in 2011, told media outlets earlier this month that she would drop the case if Shirvell apologized. Shirvell, who now lives in North Babylon, N.Y., said his statements were true and protected because Armstrong was a public figure.

In November 2010, Shirvell was fired for “abusing” the powers of his office.

At the time of his firing, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said, in a statement, that Shirvell was guilty of conduct unbecoming of a state law enforcement official and utilizing state resources to persecute and harass Armstrong.

The two fought viciously in court for nearly a year before a week-long trial began last week. The jury got the case late Wednesday and deliberated for most of the day Thursday.

Armstrong won on all counts and was awarded $4.5 million, Armstrong’s attorney Deborah Gordon told reporters.

The state bar’s Attorney Grievance Commission is also investigating Shirvell’s actions because Armstrong has also filed an ethics complaint seeking his disbarment.

Shirvell was unable to be reached for comment.

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31 more reader comments:

  1. good

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:17pm
  2. should have made him pay more then that show him his ways will not be tolerated

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:17pm
  3. YES!!!! Justice is served

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:18pm
  4. EXactly. Hit him where it hurts – in the pocketbook.

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:18pm
  5. Good he should be able to take every last penny from the guy

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:19pm
  6. Now, every assistant AG should think twice before messing with an openly gay student body president — sigh!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:21pm
  7. Karma

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:21pm
  8. The next step will be having him Disbared

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:24pm
  9. Finally

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:25pm
  10. justice

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:25pm
  11. Justice! This guy deserved this.

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:27pm
  12. It is my opinion that Mr. Shirvell is an unhappy, closeted individual who may have been spurned by someone and used his professional office to further fuel his anger…he really needs to seek therapy!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:31pm
  13. Good!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:34pm
  14. Great

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:41pm
  15. Good job. Another one bites the dust, for now atleast. Enjoy it!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:47pm
  16. What a weird story that was.

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:50pm
  17. Outstanding. What a douche-bag.

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:52pm
  18. Awsome!

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 8:54pm
  19. stupidity: where biotry and open mouths collide

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 9:11pm
  20. He sould only wish that Arstrong had obessions for him. ” Me thinkist that he protest too much.”

    Posted on Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 10:06pm
  21. Karma.

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 12:15am
  22. well ain’t karma a bitch…

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:10am
  23. Okay, this guy is either a psychopath – or a DEEPLY closeted self-loathing gay himself.

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:12am
  24. yes its a bitch . is it me or does he look gay lol

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:13am
  25. What a nutjob. Anderson Cooper interviewed him, he seems in need of pschiatric attention.

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:19am
  26. Say whaaaat?! He’s an Idiot! Defaming a gay student… and He gains what out of it?

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:27am
  27. Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:31am
  28. great way to get your point across. !!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:31am
  29. Wow. $4.5 million dollars and may be debarred and all he had to do was apologize. Wow… What a tool?! His pride was too big to just apologize, I bet he wish he’d done it now.

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 10:25am
  30. “Pay-back is a bitch,” isn’t it?

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 12:08pm
  31. .5M or 4.5M The article actually says $4.5M…

    Posted on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 12:32pm