Chris Armstrong suing former Michigan assistant attorney general for defamation

University of Michigan student says he would've dropped case if Andrew Shirvell apologized

Chris Armstrong suing former Michigan assistant attorney general for defamation
07 August 2012

All former University of Michigan Student Body President Chris Armstrong wanted was an apology.

But Andrew Shirvell, a one-time assistant attorney general for the state, has refused to say he is sorry for engaging in a one-man campaign against the openly gay Armstrong in 2010.

Now the two men will face off in court.

Jury selection is beginning in Detroit federal court in a defamation civil lawsuit Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, has filed against Shirvell.

In March, a state hearing officer in Michigan ruled that Shirvell was justly fired in 2010 for his harassment of Armstrong which included engaging in ‘hate speech’ on a blog and ‘physical and mental harassment’ of Armstrong.

He did such things as show up at public events to condemn what he called Armstrong’s ‘radical homosexual agenda.’  Shirvell also showed up at Armstrong’s home three times – including once at 1:30 a.m., harassed Armstrong’s friends as they were socializing, tried to get him fired from his job and posted online attacks about the student.

Shirvell maintained that his conduct was protected by the First Amendment.

He was fired by then-Attorney General Mike Cox for ‘conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an assistant attorney general.’

But at the time of Shirvell’s firing, Cox explicitly said was was not firing him for expressing himself. Instead, he was firing Shirvell for repeatedly violating office policies, engaging in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately using state resources.

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