A federal judge in New York has delivered a victory for attorneys from the Thomas More Society and a group of peaceful pro-life advocates in an unsubstantiated harassment lawsuit brought against them by former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
A Memorandum & Order issued July 20, 2018 by U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in United States District Court – Eastern District of New York has denied a request for an injunction by the state in People v. Griepp et al.
The federal lawsuit, filed in June 2017, charged the peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors – who offer abortion-bound women information on life-affirming alternatives – with “a weekly pattern of threatening, obstructive and violent activity.” The charges were brought despite lack of evidence of any of the purported threats, harassment, or groping that the prosecution had claimed occurred outside of the Choices Medical Clinic abortion facility in Jamaica, Queens.
Former Attorney General Schneiderman justified his claims under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act. Schneiderman had sought both a preliminary and a permanent injunction, compensatory damages, and additional monetary penalties against the pro-life advocates...
Notable witnesses brought by Schneiderman in the case included “Millionaire Abortionist” Merle Hoffman, who testified that pro-life advocates should be considered the “American Taliban,”...
Thomas More Society attorneys praise the decision. Cannon stated, “We believe the court had clear recognition of what was happening in this case: The former attorney general, whose support of the abortion lobby is well-documented, was pushing a narrative not supported by the evidence. The case was an abuse of the rights of peaceful New York citizens, whose rights Mr. Schneiderman had a duty to protect, not attack.”
Despite lack of evidence from his yearlong surveillance and targeted action plan, Schneiderman charged these sidewalk counselors with threats, obstruction and violence, which Cannon labeled as “a grotesque level of falsity.” He added that he viewed the purpose of Schneiderman’s suit as being “to shut down their advocacy and get them off the sidewalk.”
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