News (USA)

Fired prosecutor to face jury in alleged harassment of gay student leader

Fired prosecutor to face jury in alleged harassment of gay student leader

DETROIT — Jury selection began Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit in a civil lawsuit against a former Assistant Attorney General of Michigan, who stands accused of stalking and defaming a gay former student government leader at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Chris Armstrong (left), and Andrew Shirvell.

Attorney Deborah Gordon, who represents the former UM student, Chris Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, told media outlets that she would drop the case if ex-Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell apologized.

Instead, Shirvell refused claiming that Armstrong pursued a “course of action” against him “to make an example out of (me) in order to deter others from criticizing (Armstrong’s) homosexual activist agenda.”

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

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

Shirvell used his blog to continuously attack and harass Armstrong, calling him a “racist, elitist and liar,” and “Satan’s representative on the student assembly.”

Shirvell now lives in North Babylon, N.Y. He says his statements were true or protected because Armstrong was a public figure.

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

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