by Katie Daviscourt at thepostmillennial.com
0:20 / 2:57
The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of investigative journalist Andy Ngo v. Rose City Antifa and its alleged affiliated members, in which they found both defendants John Colin Hacker and Elizabeth Renee Richter not liable in the civil case brought against them.
Ngo filed a complaint in Portland, Oregon in 2020, claiming assault and other injuries over alleged acts of violence carried out by members of Antifa, which began in 2019. Defandants John Colin Hacker and Elizabeth Renee Richter have been accused by Senior Editor of Post Millennial Andy Ngo of assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, which was argued before a civil jury for more than a week at the Multnomah County Courthouse.
Defendants Hacker and Richter, who allegedly work as Antifa’s “doxxers,” which after identifying Ngo had led to a series of physical beatings on May 28, 2021, were found by the jury on Tuesday not liable for all of these claims. Evidence provided during the trial, along with testimony given by both defendants, asserts Ngo’s claims in the complaint.
During closing statements, defense lawyer Michelle Burrows told the jurors that not only does she self-identify as both a progressive and an “anti-fascist,” she strongly declared, “I am Antifa” and insisted upon making herself an “I am Antifa” t-shirt, which she said she would wear after the trial. Despite Antifa’s significant recorded history of violence, she told the jury that Antifa’s unfavorable reputation is untrue and depicted the organized militant group as activists fighting for social justice and civil rights.
In defense of Antifa, Burrows said, “Resistance in this country has never been peaceful.”
The defense attorney went on to say that journalist Andy Ngo has dirty hands. She indicated that Ngo is a “doxxer” as well because he uploads publicly available mugshots of Antifa-affiliated individuals that have committed crimes on his Twitter account, which has over one million followers.
In addition, the defense lawyer said that since the US has an “unregulated internet,” Ngo needs to “take responsibility” for the words he says on the internet, and added that his “conduct has not been pristine.” She also attacked Ngo’s credibility as a journalist despite providing the jury with no evidence of the allegations that would have discredited him, other than saying that he’s a “liar” that provides “half-truths.”
Furthermore, Burrows claimed that Ngo’s reporting has created a “rage machine that has generated so much revenue for Mr. Ngo.”
Before closing statements, Judge Sinaplasai informed the court that the trial’s jurors have raised concerns about being “doxed,” and claimed that people have been trying to find out their identities. The judge then enacted even stricter safety measures then what had already been ordered for the trial.
After announcing her retirement and that this would be her last trial, Burrows told the jurors that she “will remember each one of their faces.” Burrows did not take the time to provide evidence as to why the two defendants should be free from charges, but rather used the time to defend anti-fascism and attack Ngo’s credibility as a journalist.
The attorney for Andy Ngo, Dorothy Yamamoto, had a different approach in her closing statement. Yamamoto went through each charge levied against defendants Hacker and Richter and provided the jury with substantial evidence relating to each charge, and why the defendants should receive each charge pertaining to assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In her rebuttal, the attorney encouraged the jury “to be mindful of what is evidence, and what the attorneys have been saying.”
“I’ve heard allegations and things that have happened that are not evidence. There has been a lot of attacks against my client’s credibility as a journalist. He lies, he misstates. Did the defendants show you his actual posts,” Yamamoto questioned after the defense team failed to provide evidence of Ngo’s alleged inaccurate reporting during the trial, claims that were used to discredit him.
Yamamoto explained to the jury that while Hacker and Richter may or may not have physically beaten Ngo on the night of May 28, 2021, the defendants can still be held liable for battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress due to state law.
In regard to battery, the defendants would have to be found guilty of intending to cause harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff, and directly or indirectly caused a harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff.
Yamamoto argued that this charge applies to Hacker when the defendant had poured water on Ngo and slapped Ngo’s phone out of his hand on May 7, 2021, which Hacker had admitted during testimony.
Regarding May 28, 2021, the two defendants can be held liable for battery by substantially assisting or encouraging someone to commit battery. The evidence provided was Richter and Hacker identifying Ngo which led to him being physically beaten.
“The key fact was to identify an infiltrator and beat up the infiltrator. Is identifying the infiltrator substantial assistance? Is that encouragement to commit assault?” Yamamoto asked.
“You also saw evidence of the defendants’ inability to identify anyone. Is that encouragement? Is that substantial assistance?” Yamamoto questioned, adding “Is it encouragement by not revealing identities. Does that encourage them to continue attacks if they know they won’t be held accountable.”
Yamamoto provided evidence to the jury that was shown during trial in which Hacker and Richter were seen on surveillance video shortly after Ngo had been beaten, and only after they had revealed his identity.
In regard to causation in concert, in which evidence would have to show that the attacks on Ngo were mutually contrived or planned, agreed on, performed in unison, or done together, Yamamoto explained that Richter’s tweet, which was provided as evidence during trial, applies to this charge. After Ngo was beaten, Richter had tweeted, “Our comrade that is a f*cking bad*ss spotted him.”read more