"Investigative Journalist" Crystal Cox's Latest Target: An Enemy's Three-Year-Old Daughter

Irksome, Law

Here's the most important thing you need to know about blogger and "investigative journalist" Crystal Cox: when she got angry at First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, she didn't just register the domains marcrandazza.com and fuckmarcrandazza.com and marcrandazzasucks.com in order to attack him. She registered jenniferrandazza.com and nataliarandazza.com — the names of Randazza's wife and three-year-old daughter.

That's Crystal Cox in a nutshell — an appropriate receptacle.

You've probably heard of Crystal Cox before, even if you don't remember the name. Last December, the media and the blogosphere were full of stories about how a federal judge in Oregon had ruled that "bloggers are not journalists" and declined to extend to her various statutory defenses available to the press, leading to a $2.5 million defamation judgment against her. She was hailed as a champion of free speech and a victim of a backwards and technophobic judiciary.

The truth, as is often the case, was a little more complicated. Remember: the first thing you need to know is that blogger and "investigative journalist" Crystal Cox is the sort of person who registers domains in the name of the three-year-old daughters of her enemies.

A few journalists probed further. Kashmir Hill and Forbes and David Carr at the New York Times looked beyond the narrative. They turned over a rock, and what they found was unpleasant.

The full story is very lengthy and detailed. I will revisit it, but I haven't finished downloading all the case documents from PACER, and I'm thinking of springing for the transcripts of Crystal Cox's deposition and trial. But read the Forbes and New York times pieces. You'll learn about how Crystal Cox started a swarm of blogs attacking an Oregon lawyer named Kevin D. Padrick, by all reliable sources a decent and trustworthy lawyer. Padrick had the bad fortune to be appointed as the trustee in a bankruptcy case Cox was obsessed with. As the Times puts it:

In a long-running series of hyperbolic posts, she wrote that Mr. Padrick and his company, the Obsidian Finance Group, had engaged in bribery, tax fraud, money laundering, payoffs and theft, among other things. Her one-woman barrage did not alter the resolution of the Summit affair, but it was effective in ruining Mr. Padrick.

In a phone interview, he told me his business as a financial adviser had dropped by half since Ms. Cox started in on him, and any search of his name or his company turned up page after page on Google detailing his supposed skullduggery, showing up under a variety of sites, including Bend Oregon News, Bankruptcy Corruption, and Northwest Tribune.

After Crystal Cox vomited forth a series of blogs accusing Padrick of being a criminal, dominating the search results for his name, she sent this email to his lawyer:

That sure sounds like "pay me to take down the terrible things I've said about you," doesn't it? It does to me. It sounds like extortion. When asked by the New York Times, Crystal Cox responded blandly that she was “not on trial for writing e-mails.”

Contrast that with her email to Marc Randazza, telling him that she had already registered www.marcrandazza.com, and needed money, and she had been accused of extortion before, but did he or anyone he knew need a reputation manager?

He didn't bite. Soon she was filling the web with sites ranting and raving about him — freakish, incoherent, meandering rants. I'm not linking to them. After some thought, and with reluctance, and with apologies to Marc and his lovely wife, I'm going to show you this pdf of one of her pages attacking Jennifer by twisting a typically-Marc charming story about their engagement and pregnancy into something vile. I show it to you because I think it is necessary to understand how sick and evil Crystal Cox is. If you want to see more, go see one of her sites for yourself. Observe the disturbing rants, the odd capitalization and layouts, the sidebar advertisements for quack nostrums, and the occasional video report in which Crystal Cox twitches and babbles and meanders wherever her sick mind takes her. Don't link her, though. That helps her.

Crystal Cox now has formidable attorneys on her side — Eugene Volokh and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who just lost a motion for a new trial and are now appealing the judgment against Cox to the Ninth Circuit. Though Crystal Cox is a vile, evil person, I have nothing but respect for Volokh (a Popehat favorite) and the EFF. Read their briefs. They assert that the trial judge in Cox's case erred in instructing the jury and failed to extend to Cox the free speech protections we all should enjoy — that Padrick was not held to the right standard of proof in proving her intent in writing false things about him. They aren't arguing — at least as far as I can tell — that she proved that what she wrote was true; rather, they are arguing that the jury lacked to right rules to judge the case. Even if every damn thing Cox said was maliciously manufactured, this is important work: ultimately Volokh and the EFF are fighting for the rights of bloggers everywhere. But it's too bad that Crystal Cox is the standard-bearer for the case. Volokh and the EFF labor under a terrible record replete with Cox's bizarre rants. Consider her bizarre cross-complaint suing the victim for suing her, or her demand that the judge and court staff sign a declaration of lack of conflict of interest (this is typical of unhinged pro se litigants; it must be on a web site someplace), or her attempt to spin her extortionate email as really being about misconduct against her, or her post-trial motion launching a broadside against a hapless juror based on a largely incomprehensible conspiracy theory. And consider — as I keep saying — that Crystal Cox is the sort of person who registers a domain in the name of the three-year-old daughter of an enemy. But fighting for free speech often involves rubbing shoulders with evil — the Phelps clan, the Nazis at Skokie, and so forth.

I agree with Marc that Crystal Cox is no journalist. Journalists don't offer their services as reputation managers to the people they are reporting on. Journalists don't engage in bizarre and incomprehensible rants. (Well, OK, not counting cable news.) Journalists don't engage in the writing equivalent of spam. But I'm not convinced that this should matter. I think that Crystal Cox — like me, or Marc Randazza — should enjoy the same protections as a journalist. But with that comes responsibility. If she destroys someone's life — as she did to Padrick — and he can prove that her claims were false and that she had the requisite mental state, then she should pay. If the Ninth Circuit reverses here, despite Crystal Cox's warts, she should get another trial — and then I hope that Padrick thoroughly cockroach-stomps her again. Given the freakish nature of her filings, that seems like a probable result, no matter what standard she is held to.

But that's years in the future. Right now, we are dealing with someone who is registering domains in the names of the three-year-old daughters of her enemies. What can we do about people like Crystal Cox?

We can respond to her evil, vengeful speech with more speech.

First, every time Crystal Cox attacks someone, we can band together — as bloggers did for Marc Randazza
when Crystal Cox attacked him — and write fair and factual posts about the target. That substantially blunted Crystal Cox's attempt to destroy Randazza's reputation by spamming numerous nutty blogs about him, pushing her efforts off the first page. As a team, we can render Crystal Cox powerless and largely irrelevant. More speech works. (Now you know why I put up that mysterious Popehat Signal.) It might be nice to start by offering this gesture to Kevin D. Patrick, her victim in the Oregon case. But if you're out there — if she's gone after you, or threatened to — we can help you, too. We'll throw up the Popehat Signal and gather a more-speech team and flush her off the first pages of your search results.

Second, We can write about Crystal Cox based on established facts, documentary evidence, and her own words. We can all point out that she's the sort of person who retaliates against an opponent by registering a domain in the name of his three-year-old girl. If enough people do it, then Crystal Cox's power to destroy people's reputations will be further diminished. Even if people run across her vengeful posts about a victim, even the quickest inquiry into her will reveal her for who — for what — she is. More speech works.

Third, we can search for other victims. The emails to Padrick's lawyer and to Randazza are two data points — but showing a remarkably similar approach. Has she done this other times? There's a way to find out — we use reverse whois directories, plug in her name and addresses and email addresses and known associates, and find every domain she has ever registered. I've already started. Then we see whether the domains were used to attack someone. If they were, we start contacting the targets and asking questions — like "has Crystal Cox offered you reputation management services?"

Why would we want to see if Crystal Cox has sent emails to others like the ones she sent to Randazza and Padric? Well, two reasons, really. The first is civil. If Volokh succeeds in getting Crystal Cox a new trial on appeal — or if anyone else sues her — a pattern of such communications will be very probative of her intent in making false statements about people when she sets up multiple blogs about them. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), such "other bad acts" evidence is generally inadmissible — unless it is probative of intent, or knowledge, or motive, or lack of accident, or similar factors. What could be more probative of Crystal Cox's malicious intent than a pattern of such communications — like the pattern we already see in the two described above?

And the second reason to investigate further "reputation manager" offers?

Oh, yeah. That.

It's because of Title 18, United States Code, Section 875(d):

(d) Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

I suppose, if you want to get technical, that's not "more speech." But, like the best last line of a movie ever goes, "well, nobody's perfect."

Other posts about this:

Crystal Cox – Investigative Blogger? No, More Like A Scammer and Extortionist
A Blogger Not Like Us
Judge rules, again, that blogger Crystal Cox is not a journalist. You know why? Because she ISN’T a journalist.
How Crystal Cox Is Helping To Prove The Strength of the First Amendment
Investigative Journalist Crystal Cox Attacks Kevin D. Padrick
Crystal Cox
Crystal Cox Is Not a Member of the Media
Crystal Cox

Postscript: If you want to be part of this, there are rules. No threats to her of any sort whatsoever. No calls or emails or letters. Report the facts. Protect the innocent. She's evil; we're the good guys. Act like it.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

120 Comments

110 Comments

  1. John Kindley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @12:18 am

    Now I feel like kind of a schmuck for kind of making fun of everybody for praising Marco in my own post praising him.

  2. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @12:37 am

    Wow, that's frigging astonishing.

    I'll never get the thought process that leads up to this.

    Oh I can get the evil. That I can understand even if I don't support it. What I don't get is is the thinking that she can get away with this without being severely damaged.

    I believe she's in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), but in any event, reveals to the public how venal she is.

    And stupid.

  3. Adam Steinbaugh  •  Mar 31, 2012 @1:16 am

    If Marc can establish some tie to California (if I recall correctly, he has an office somewhere here), he might also be interested in California Business and Professions Code 17525-17528.5, which can be used to force the transfer of domain names using a personal name.

  4. somebody  •  Mar 31, 2012 @1:37 am

    It was pretty obvious that the Popehat signal was about making blog posts praising Randazza, but I didn't know that this was the reason why you rallied everybody.

    This Crystal Cox business is scary as hell, especially the e-mail she sent to Randazza — and I haven't even looked at those PDFs of her blog that you put up. To email somebody and plainly say "Hi, I registered a domain with your full name and was wondering if you'd like to pay to not have your reputation, shall we say, damaged" and then do the same thing to members of the victim's family when he doesn't respond… it's a horrible thing to do, and I'm really happy that the internet has people you fighting against this boldfaced thuggery.

    That said, thanks for introducing me to Marc Randazza's blog. I'm just a guy on the internet who plays video games and reads a few attorneys' blogs because they're fun and informative. I hadn't known about Randazza's blog until you put up the Popehat signal, and now I read it daily — he's awesome, and I love what he does for the internet.

  5. Ansley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @2:37 am

    This makes me want to write a new 'more speech' blog. I'll have to think about this.

  6. G Thompson  •  Mar 31, 2012 @2:44 am

    Who is Greg Easton and why does he have the misfortune of having this woman go after him, didn't he pay either? http://www.northwesternbusinessreview.com/2012/03/greg-euston-of-mceachern-communications.html

  7. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @5:42 am

    So let me understand this: Mr. Randazza decries the very same behavior that he supports in the blog postingss at the Simple Justice blog. I have not followed this Cox story, but from your description I can confidently say that the experience I have had at SJ is as unprofessional and as despicable as her behavior. Hypocritical? I'll say.

  8. piperTom  •  Mar 31, 2012 @6:40 am

    A forth (fifth?) easy thing you can do. I use a browser addon called Web of Trust. Users of the tool rate sites for honesty, malware, reliability, privacy issues, etc. Other users see the ratings and are alerted to really bad ratings. I have just used Web of Trust to rate the Jennifer site as having hateful content. I didn't do the Natalia one, since it appears to be nothing but GoDaddy ads (so far). The addon is available for Firefox, IE, and Chrome.

  9. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:19 am

    So let me understand this: Mr. Randazza decries the very same behavior that he supports in the blog postingss at the Simple Justice blog. I have not followed this Cox story, but from your description I can confidently say that the experience I have had at SJ is as unprofessional and as despicable as her behavior. Hypocritical? I'll say.

    Oh, "Ann." You've confused Marc's blog with Scott's blog. You may have confused Marc with Scott, it's difficult to tell. You think that being the subject of gentle teasing at Siimple Justice is comparable to having dozens of blogs opened about you, which marks you as a nut, idiot, or drama queen. And you don't get free speech.

  10. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:39 am

    When I receive an e-mail from one of the blog author's nut job commenters, whom am I to suppose gave the individual access to my e-mail address? Sorry, but that is beneath the level of decency even in this world of blogging. And when I tried to respond, the e-mail account magically disappeared. We do not engage in internet conversation and discussion to then be sent gutteral e-mail messages when the blog author doesn't agree with our comments. Would you share a commeneters e-mail address with some stranger on the web? It is wrong. And if you are a member of the legal community it is also unethical.

  11. David  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:42 am

    That explains the dress you were wearing.

  12. Dave  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:43 am

    So this is basically the internet version of Nazis marching in Skokie, right? Interesting predicament. Here's hoping the evil loonie gets a retrial with the proper protections, followed by another conviction.

  13. Kirk Hays  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:54 am

    Sounds like Dr. Deborah Ellen Frisch all over again.

    Takes time, but consistent documentation of the behavior of such a loonie, preventing her from disappearing her vileness down the memory hole, and firm, polite, and helpful engagement with local authorities, will eventually provide all the levers needed to take down such a person, legally.

    Took five years with Dr. Frisch, so be prepared for the long haul.

  14. Laura K  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:57 am

    Hi Ken, I just wanted to post in that I have not forgotten my response to your last Popehat signal. This seems like a terrible situation, and while I just felt I could not add much to Mr. Radanza's praise at the time, he and his family have my prayers and now that Divinity School applications are in I will try to do something helpful pr positive (within your guidelines) on my blog.

    Um, Ann…really??

  15. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:01 am

    When I receive an e-mail from one of the blog author's nut job commenters, whom am I to suppose gave the individual access to my e-mail address? Sorry, but that is beneath the level of decency even in this world of blogging. And when I tried to respond, the e-mail account magically disappeared. We do not engage in internet conversation and discussion to then be sent gutteral e-mail messages when the blog author doesn't agree with our comments. Would you share a commeneters e-mail address with some stranger on the web? It is wrong. And if you are a member of the legal community it is also unethical.

    I have no idea what you are talking about, nor why you think this is the appropriate forum for talking incoherently about it.

  16. John Kindley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:10 am

    BTW, I still call Marco Marco even though everybody else calls him Marc nit to be cute but out of genuine habit, and because Marco seems so much cooler than Marc. Seems the first time I ever heard of him I heard of him as Marco. Plus he has used that name on his own blog. Plus my understanding is that that is his real name.

  17. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:16 am

    I am not so certain I was incoherent as you seemed to have clearly understood my message. I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy of Randazza's claim, while at the same time he supports this kind of behavior from his colleague and fellow blogger, i.e. Simple Justice. To repeat: When a law blogger disseminates private e-mail accounts to his nut job commenters with the knowledge that these nut jobs will contact the commenter, it is despicasble behavior. It is wrong and for an attorney, it is unethical.

  18. strech  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:20 am

    Hmm. What would be the standard on this case on how significant an error / how likely to change the result fixing the error would be in terms of causing a new trial?

    Because after reading both the brief and the opinion;
    1) the call on whether the jury instructions were correct under current precedent is beyond me;
    2) given the evidence presented at trial included the extortionate email, it seems pretty reasonable to conclude "actual malice" was satisfied anyway.

  19. John Kindley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:21 am

    How is it that Marco "supports" the behavior on Simple Justice? Just because he's defending its proprietor from a frivolous lawsuit?

  20. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:25 am

    When I receive an e-mail from one of the blog author's nut job commenters, whom am I to suppose gave the individual access to my e-mail address? Sorry, but that is beneath the level of decency even in this world of blogging. And when I tried to respond, the e-mail account magically disappeared. We do not engage in internet conversation and discussion to then be sent gutteral e-mail messages when the blog author doesn't agree with our comments. Would you share a commeneters e-mail address with some stranger on the web? It is wrong. And if you are a member of the legal community it is also unethical.

    I found this indecipherable as well. I literally, despite efforts, could not figure out what she is talking about.

  21. strech  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:28 am

    Insofar as I can understand you Ann, you believe that Marc Randazza is hypocritical in objecting to Crystal Cox attacking him, his wife, and his children across multiple websites, followed by a extortion threat, because someone who may have been a commentator on a different blog sent you a nasty email from a disposable account.

  22. Jess  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:35 am

    Actually Strech what I think she is alluding to is that she believes Scott at Simple Justice provided her private email account under which she had commented to another commenter who in turn sent her an objectionable email to her private email account. It would seem out of character for Scott to provide an email address not displayed on commenters blog entries to another blog commenter. As such, I've asked him to clarify if that is indeed what happened.

  23. John Kindley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:36 am

    Ann is implying that the proprietor of Simple Justice provided that commenter with her email address, a strange allegation and totally irrelevant to this post and having nothing to do with Randazza.

  24. raptros-v76  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:39 am

    Crazy is fractal, apparently.

  25. strech  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:42 am

    she believes Scott at Simple Justice provided her private email account under which she had commented to another commenter who in turn sent her an objectionable email to her private email account.

    Yes, she believes that the "someone who may have been a commentator on a different blog" I referred to was a blog.simplejustice.us commentator given her email by Scott.
    She just provides absolutely no evidence for this, nor any reason for her, or anyone else, to actually believe this is the case.

  26. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:49 am

    Ann, leaving aside the lack of proof for your accusations, I still don't see what this has to do with Marc or this case. Also, even I it were true–which I doubt–your suggestion that it is comparable to this case is bizarre.

  27. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:53 am

    John Kindley,

    I do know that Randazza is representing the proprietor in a frivolous lawsuit. That is commendable but completely immaterial to the blog author at SJ disseminating my institutional account to one of the crazies who comments on his blog. As I read Popehat's blog entry this morning, I was struck by Randazza's hypocrisy in defending SJ's actions as it relates to my e-mail account. As I legal blog reader, I comment solely for the purpose of engaging in legal analysis and gaining an informed understanding of varying views. I should not have to fear that my e-mail address will be dispersed to anonymous commenters. In a spirit of candor, I called Randazza and sought his advice. The response ended in beligerence and benign threats. So you tell me. There are some things that a blogger should not do. I understand the internet is unregulated, but disseminating a commenter's e-mail account address is wrong.

  28. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:55 am

    Ken,

    Is this what the incoherent lady was talking about?

    I'm new here, and I'm reading some posts after doing a site search for "cops" newest to oldest and I just found that one.

    What I'm going to say saddens me a bit, and I'm curious how you're going to dismiss it/counterattack, but my prediction is that you will.

    Before I say it, I'll say that I've been enjoying your funny, insightful writing, intellectual honesty (for example, giving the cop the benefit of the doubt who shot the handcuffed prone suspect), and you passionate outrage against government abuses of power in the criminal justice realm. I too am also a small-l libertarian

    So I was disappointed to see you outed a commenters' identity after they left a (perhaps irrational, certainly misspelled) critical comment. I was especially disappointed you revealed their email address.

    When someone comments on their site, they enter their email address beside the words "will not be published".

    Now I realize that is default lingo in mos WordPress templates, but so what? Two things:

    1. It's default lingo for a reason since the normal blogging ethics is that you don't publish commenters' email addresses so they don't have to deal with spam or repercussions of being "outed" after they've commented on a site using an anonymous nickname.

    2. You didn't change this promise: you left it in place; it's a promise appearing on your site to this day and probably going back years

    Personally I use a BS email address just in case sites get hacked, which happens, so I don't start getting spammed or what have you. It's also a (very flimsy) identity shield.

    But you struck me as a man of honor and integrity. A good lawyer. Someone funny, compassionate, on the side of the little guy, or at least the presumed innocent guy, but fully supportive of robust vigorous debate. Etc. Etc. many other good qualities too that I'm glossing over

    Publishing the email address (and therefore identity) of your commenter after promising, in writing, not do to so, was not your finest blogging moment.


    Sent from my iPhone. Kind of hard to correct typos and proofread so kindly forgive any. Although I make a lot at the best of times. ;)

  29. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:59 am

    *When someone comments on their this site

  30. Windypundit  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:03 am

    "I'll never get the thought process that leads up to this."

    I usually assume it's a personality disorder. I've seen this sort of thing a lot — excessive sentences with emphasized parts, heavy use of proper names, referring to themselves in the third person, accusations of betrayal, implying that their target is actually obsessed with them, making up or misunderstanding facts, the endless repetition, accumulating more verbiage with each iteration — it shows up all over the web.

  31. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:11 am

    By the way. I made my 8:55 am comment before reading Ann's 8:53 am comment (which I could understand this time).

  32. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:13 am

    Ann, after due inquiry into you, I think I grasp your sense of kinship with Cox. Take your crazy stalker bullshit elsewhere.

  33. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:15 am

    Christoph, rather than derail this thread about Cox attacking a three year old, why don't you start a thread in the forum and I will be happy to address that crazy libertarian post.

  34. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:20 am

    Ken, have you followed Salty Droid's posts on Coz? I'm guessing you must have.

  35. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:23 am

    *Cox

  36. Jay  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:23 am

    "In a spirit of candor, I called Randazza and sought his advice. The response ended in beligerence and benign threats."

    No, "Ann"; it did not. I was present. If you truly believe it did, please seek help.

  37. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:32 am

    No, Christoph, I have not. Link?

  38. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:37 am

    Again, the act of disseminating a commenter's e-mail account address to others is unethical and wrong. Even by internet blog standards. Perhaps this is okay by your standards too. But it should not be.

  39. Jess  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:41 am

    Ann, I’m confused. But, it appears you saying you called Randazza to ask his advice ONLY about your belief that Scott at SimpleJustice had provided your private email address to another commenter. I really can’t imagine Scott doing that in the first place since it would put a real chill on anyone commenting on his blog. It’s just plain counterintuitive. You should have provided a link to the specific blog post as proof, or a snapshot of the page and/or email as proof. Otherwise I have to assume you have no proof of your allegation and are just "assuming" this is what happened because someone was able to find your personal email address. Second if you throw around comments like “Randazza is representing the proprietor in a frivolous lawsuit” I find it highly suspect that you called Randazza and didn’t get in his face – which would account for his “attitude” toward you. Not to mention that I’m not even sure what a “benign threat” is. Is that where someone calls you a troll? BTW – I’m really sorry for calling you a troll, unless of course you are one.

  40. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:41 am

    Jay,

    My response in saying "it ended in belligerence" is based on the last e-mail your boss/partner sent to me. So, yes Jay, it did.

  41. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:44 am

    You're in for a treat, Ken!

    Salty Droid's (real name Jason Jones) coverage of Cox is minimal. He pretty much limited it to how her antics threaten setting precedents against bloggers doing journalism, and urging her not to appeal the ruling against her for that reason.

    But Droid, I think you'll find, is a kindred soul. He's an Ivy league-trained IP lawyer who is THE MAN when it comes to fighting against online fraudsters, get rich quick con artists, and the like. He's funny as hell and fearless. What you and Radley do for the common citizen against out of control prosecutors and cops, he does for the common man or woman against those preying on their financial desperation and life dissatisfaction.

    You may not care about or have time for every story he covers, but at a minimum I think you should bookmark it or add it to your feed.

    <a href

  42. Ken  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:46 am

    Ann, go sell crazy somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.

  43. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:48 am

    Ah, the perils of publishing via SmartPhone.

    Salty Droid on Crystal Cox

  44. Christopher  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:55 am

    @Windypundit – Yes. Exactly that.

    And don't forget the unrestrained use of text color changes, even when the text isn't a link.

  45. Ann  •  Mar 31, 2012 @9:56 am

    Jess,

    Prior to this incident, I have had nothing but respect for Marc Randazza and his willingness to not be intimidated. I have followed one of his cases closely in which he represents a number of defendants. It is admirable work and his taking on the particular plaintiff when others settled will do much I hope to maintain the standards of competency in the legal profession. My comment here was simply to point out what I saw as an inconsistency in his actions as applied to my experience at Simple Justice. I had been commenting at Simple Justice for over two years – maybe once a month or so. Recently, what started in a thread as a legal conversation quickly became reduced to name-calling and ad hominem attackes. That is ok as it is the internet. When the name calling and crass overtures are then sent to my institutional e-mail account that crosses the line. The e-mails came from one of SJ's frequent and rather nutty commenters. The author of SJ was the only one who had my e-mail address as he has sent me e-mails via that address too. I am saying here at this thread that sometime bloggers cross the line – as SJ has done – and this wroong.

  46. John Kindley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @10:11 am

    If I am representing an individual and somebody calls me to birch about something that individual has supposedly done that is completely unrelated to my representation and is not illegal I would be likely to essentially tell the caller to get lost too.
    Regarding christoph's post above about a seemingly well-documented disclosure of a commenter's email address: I love it when people I respect and admire are taken down a notch. It keeps us all honest.

  47. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @10:12 am

    If you only have the time to read one of the three articles Salty Droid has talking about Crystal Cox, make it this one:

    Crystal Cox :: iS nOt a BLOgGER

    It's relevant to this thread and gives additional dismaying examples of her perfidy.

  48. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @10:55 am

    Christoph, rather than derail this thread about Cox attacking a three year old, why don't you start a thread in the forum and I will be happy to address that crazy libertarian post.

    Since you revealed their email address in a prominent, front-page post, why not address it in a prominent, front-page post {such as the Why I Am A Small-l Libertarian, Not a Large-L Libertarian post :: you could update it, acknowledging you broke with your written site promise not to publish commenters' email addresses, explaining why you did so — whether this was an oversight, a special circumstance where it was absolutely justified, like where the commenter did something criminal such as threatening you or your family [as opposed to you being pissed off because a commenter was (1) wrong and (2) rude :: if that's the standard for outing people against your website's written guarantee, that's pretty chilling to blog debate] — and also whether you will update the "will not be published" text to "may be published", or refrain from publishing commenter's emails in the future, or keep the text but sometimes publish commenters' email addresses anyway; you could simply address it there, where the alleged infraction occurred, and acknowledge it here, where it's been brought up, rather than you and I going back and forth :: I've said my piece and the facts are self-explanatory} than a less-used part of your site? It will also save me having to register for the forum and, you know, divulge my real email address during the registration process.

    I could do that though, as long as you're willing to not publish my email address (and identity) online if and when we disagree and argue — as long as you make it a written promise.

    Err … another one.

  49. Rusty  •  Mar 31, 2012 @12:09 pm

    Why doesn't Randazza sue for ownership of the sites with his name on them? Cox doesn't have (or shouldn't have) any ownership interest in them (well, maybe marcrandazzasucks.com) but there's no way I'd let her keep sites with my own name, my wife's name, and my daughter's name. She might find defending against another lawsuit cuts into her crazy time.

  50. Marc J. Randazza  •  Mar 31, 2012 @12:23 pm

    Rusty wrote:

    Why doesn't Randazza sue for ownership of the sites with his name on them? Cox doesn't have (or shouldn't have) any ownership interest in them (well, maybe marcrandazzasucks.com) but there's no way I'd let her keep sites with my own name, my wife's name, and my daughter's name. She might find defending against another lawsuit cuts into her crazy time.

    Rusty, I am not ruling it out. But, I like the lesson here being that if you do wrong, those who do right will expose you, and you will be rendered ineffective at doing wrong.

    People already know that doing wrong might get you sued.

  51. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @12:30 pm

    Well put, Marc Randazza.

  52. Scott Jacobs  •  Mar 31, 2012 @1:12 pm

    Late to this party…

    1) Ann, I think you're pretty loony there. I would suggest seeking an adjustment of the meds you are currently on, as they appear to be losing effectiveness.

    2) @John Kindley – Your response to such a phone call would be far more polite than mine would be.

  53. PubDef  •  Mar 31, 2012 @6:10 pm

    Anybody else notice the similarities in Christoph's penultimate post and Salty Droid's writing styles? The stupid double colons and the brackets, specifically.

  54. Grandy  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:25 pm

    Cristoph you might want to take a look at our actual comment policy. I point you there not in the hope that clarity or insight will be gained. I just think it's going to make this discussion even more entertaining.

  55. AlphaCentauri  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:32 pm

    The Web of Trust ratings for those domains weren't low enough. I fixed that.

  56. AlphaCentauri  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:43 pm
  57. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:59 pm

    PubDef • Mar 31, 2012 @6:10 pm

    Anybody else notice the similarities in Christoph's penultimate post and Salty Droid's writing styles? The stupid double colons and the brackets, specifically.

    Are they?

    I got the idea to put big phrases in brackets in mid sentence from Ken. Maybe I'm also him, in addition to the Salty Droid, and Santa Claus.

    Or maybe I decided to have a bit fun emulating a couple different writing styles while making my point. Who can say, really?

    Hey, I — Jason Jones AKA the Salty Droid, but not really — was reading this particular post on this blog featuring a prominent religious hat written by this wickedly funny writer who uses a 3-character pen name:

    "… realistically the veneer of anonymity has grown pretty thin. When even a cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs twit like Marc Stephens can find me in a few minutes, and when newspapers are making the connection, and when relatively soon I expect to be further outed in a story of a successful pro bono defense of a science blogger against a SLAPP threat [watch this space], there's not a whole lot of point in making a big effort to remain anonymous. I still support bloggers who do, and still believe in my reasons [which, ironically, links to *another* post by the 3-character-named blogger entitled Blogger Anonymity and Outing :: which really has to be read in its entirety -- beep bloop! (but I'm not the Droid) -- to understand just how many sections of solid numbered points there are in favor of anonymity and against those who out others' identity :: but realistically, all of that can be tossed aside when some guy makes a rude, off-base comment so that you can prove -- ta da! -- he is actually a Libertarian and express your disappointment in him not living up to your libertarian intellectual ideal (oh, and here's his full name and email address posted on the main page)], but the cat is pretty thoroughly out of the bag at this point."

  58. John Kindley  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:45 pm

    "More entertaining"?! While the comment policy is itself entertaining, having read it I'm now terrified of crossing or having crossed a constantly moving invisible line. At least, that is the part of the policy which has the most obvious potential relevance to this thread. This is a serious post. Ken spelled it out very well. Cox is scary crazy. That someone may have tried to hoist Ken on his own petard doesn't detract from that or god forbid remotely suggest any kind of equivalence. That the commenter who tried to do this now appears to be a shill for his own blog makes this thread all the more "entertaining."

  59. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @10:13 pm

    If anyone wants to know the great collusion between Salty Droid and I, it's that:

    1. I read his site few couple months when I'm into a laugh, as well as genuine outrage at an industry that had suckered me in a bit, damaging some things at an important tim in my life, in the past.
    2. I read SD a couple days ago, including his posts talking about Crystal Cox.
    3. Before that, I found this site via Patterico's information that JNJ was being fisked hard core (and it was a beautiful fisking).
    4. Ken published this post on Cox in the middle of me reading his past posts, newest to oldest, under the "Cops" search.
    5. I read it! Gasp. The conspiracy is fully underway.
    6. I think to myself, "Hey, Ken and Droid do much the same thing, one sticking up for people from wayward cops and prosecutors, and the other from wayward marketers and scammers — I'll tell Ken about Droid and vice versa."
    7. Droid posts a link in his comments to here. Unbeknownst (or possibly beknownst) to Droid, I give Ken the link he asks for, back to Droid's relevant post. And it is relevant. Read it.
    8. All of his proves that I am Droid, because:
    9. clearly I've read both blogs; ergo I am the same person. I'm also Patterico and Radley Balko — and Charles Dickens.

  60. Christoph  •  Mar 31, 2012 @10:27 pm

    Now back on topic.

    Crystal Cox is an abysmal human being. We can all agree on that. You don't threaten to tarnish the online reputation of kids to extort their parents … and you don't extort their parents either.

    One thing I learned from Droid though in the the comments today is that the Electronic Frontiers Foundation is funding Cox's appeal (may well have been known to all of you following the coverage here; was news to me).

    That's awful. They support free speech and I generally agree with them, but what the hell? This isn't supporting free speech. This is supporting an extortion racket and indifferent-to-children sociopathy.

    Anyone who has any in with the EFF, or just feels like contacting them, should express their views on them funding Cox's legal defenses when she is so clearly in the wrong. I think all of us here — as pro free-speech and libertarian group as you're ever going to find — are appalled at her unethical antics.

  61. G Thompson  •  Mar 31, 2012 @11:36 pm

    My tumblr (and my responsibility) contribution to the weirdness that is Crystal Cox.

    http://geekhideout.net/post/20265804516

    Now can anyone explain to me who Reverend LeeAnne Askman (AKA LeeAnne Lake DBA ) is and why she is the owner/registrar of some of Crystal's domains (including crystalcox itself and ethicscomplaint [both coms])?

    And Crystal also owns domains under the title of "Reverend Crystal Cox". Are they the same person? something else? Whats with the Reverend title?

  62. Naaman Fletcher  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:28 am

    What laws are generally used to prosecute mafia extortion rackets? It would seem that the same thing should apply here.

  63. Dan Weber  •  Apr 1, 2012 @6:20 am

    One thing I learned from Droid though in the the comments today is that the Electronic Frontiers Foundation is funding Cox's appeal

    Laws exist to protect the rest of us. If Cox happens to take shelter behind one of those laws, that is not a cause to destroy that law.

    If Cox was improperly ruled against, she should have support in fighting that. A "my side, right or wrong" viewpoint would be that we should enjoy the fact that the legal system is slowly bleeding her dry. That is abysmal. One day you may find yourself in that position; we need to establish a culture that even your opponents should support you in overturning your unjust prosecution.

    Besides, even if the EFF is ultimately successful, it doesn't mean Cox's legal problems for her prior actions go away. I doubt even journalists are allowed to do extortion.

  64. Jess  •  Apr 1, 2012 @7:33 am

    What Dan said. Plenty of discussion and sunlight on her "batshit" crazy behavior is the best way to deal with her without weakening laws to protect those who deserve protection. G Thompson – LOVE the link and the pic – batshit crazy is exactly how I have been describing her behavior to my cohorts before I even saw your site.

  65. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @7:44 am

    My point is Crystal Cox doesn't do investigative journalism: Droid does. Sometimes Patterico does. Maybe Ken too (or maybe just commentary). Maybe they do some at Kos and Commentary Magazine.

    She does exposes followed by weird extortion demands and threats against children. That ain't citizen journalism. It's slimy Internet marketing mixed in with heavy dollops of mafiaesque business practices.

    She's more likely to set precedents against legitimate bloggers — Droid's point in his first Crystal Cox post — than help.

    EFF are being dumb twunts here and also complicit in defending a crook.

    For goodness sakes, there are lots of legitimate cases in the world! There's no reason to step in and defend Al Capone's right to free commerce.

  66. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @7:59 am

    To use an anology, if a lawyer was defending a convicted pedophile's right to use the community library, I could see that. If the pedophile had a track record of picking kids up at that library, not so much.

    Crystal Cox is no pedophile (although registering her enemies' kids' domain names? awful), so that is just an anology. But her "investigative journalism" appears to merely be part 1 in her extortion racket: destroying someone's reputation online and search engine optimizing the destruction, then writing the person to offer exorbantly-priced SEO and reputation management services.

    That's not defensible. How does the EFF defending her help legitimate blogger-journalists?

  67. G Thompson  •  Apr 1, 2012 @8:18 am

    Jess,
    you might want to have another look at the link of mine, someone deigned to say thank you for the pic (using discus) so i have replied in what is probably a nicer way then some would expect.

    Hopefully she at least reads my reply and thinks seriously about my suggestion.

    Christoph:
    Like a lot of people I think What the EFF and Prof. Eugene Volokh are doing in regards to this case is needed because IMHO the court opinion was based on bad law. The EFF are not about the defendant, they are about the actual principles and chilling effect the judgement can create.

  68. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @8:19 am

    And final point:

    Yes, a lawyer may represent an immoral client with even a fairly outlandish defense of bad actions at times as part of their duty to their client, in part because they are being paid by their client.

    But it isn't the best use of their pro bono work, nor of contributions to the EFF.

  69. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @8:31 am

    Like a lot of people I think What the EFF and Prof. Eugene Volokh are doing in regards to this case is needed because IMHO the court opinion was based on bad law. The EFF are not about the defendant, they are about the actual principles and chilling effect the judgement can create.

    Well, I respect your opinion. You do have training in these issues (but then so does Droid as an IP lawyer) that I don't have.

    I'm glad Judge Hernandez saw through Crystal Cox and realized she was an extortion artist, not a journalist.

  70. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @8:32 am

    Because as someone, maybe Salty Droid, or David Carr, pointed out, journalists aren't allowed to commit extortion either. I am uncomfortable with court-defined "journalists" being accorded rights denied the rest of us. I am less concerned here than others about bad facts making bad law. Just watched The People v. Larry Flyby again last night. Historically Free Speech rights have been advanced by "bad facts." I am confident Eugene Volokh knows what he is doing.

  71. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @8:54 am

    The People v. Larry Flynt

    I don't really think those were bad facts though. They were challenging bad, unconstitutional law, in favor of someone providing a product — explicit pornography — that really does bring actual pleasure to many people.

    Crystal Cox isn't even doing that. She's a flat-out crook harming people, providing no value except through lies, a true moocher.

    Anyway, I hope you're right in that (EFF and) Volokh — whom I respect for many reasons — is making good legal moves.

    I'm skeptical. We'll see. If this advances protection for blogger journalists, great. I still hope she sees the inside of a prison cell or at least some kind of treatment program.

  72. Jess  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:19 am

    G Thompson – yes you were VERY nice. Somehow I think it will go over her head though.

  73. Ken  •  Apr 1, 2012 @11:50 am

    She lacks the capacity for self-awareness necessary to take Mr. Thompson's good advice.

    One indication of that — in one motion from her case that I will be publishing, she asked the court to prohibit a witness from testifying because he had created a "hate blog" against her.

    Apparently that's only ok when she does it.

    Anyway, she knows all about this now (see her rant on the marcradazza site) and is no doubt now moving to attack those who have criticized her here, a task skillfully and effectively made simpler by Christoph.

  74. Marc J. Randazza  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:03 pm

    Here's what troubles me about her case — and I am doing my best to purge my bias from the opinion of the case — it is that:

    1) Most of the people who are commenting that the judge's opinion was flawed have not read the opinion. So, please do that. HEre it is: http://tinyurl.com/7rsfnrb

    2) The judge did not say "bloggers are not journalists." the judge said (paraphrasing) "here are some things that give an indication that someone is a journalist. she did none of these things." It isn't that you need to check those items to be one. The ruling really was that "just because you call yourself a blogger, it doesn't mean you're a journalist."

    3) If this thing goes to the 9th Circuit, I'm afraid it will be an ego trip and not a real desire to clean up the state of the law. This was a trial verdict. This isn't precedential. This isn't even remotely likely to affect other bloggers. Ultimately, even if there's a new trial, do you think another jury is going to side with her?

    4) Part of why the shield law did not apply to her was because she was trying to use it the wrong way. NO shield law would apply in this scenario. She claimed that her posts were based on source information, but then tried to refuse to reveal her sources as "confidential." If ANY court ever said that this is how shield laws work, the next day every shield law would be repealed.

    This was my position before she came after me. It remains the same now.

  75. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @12:51 pm

    Here's what troubles me about her case — and I am doing my best to purge my bias from the opinion of the case — it is that:

    1) Most of the people who are commenting that the judge's opinion was flawed have not read the opinion. So, please do that.

    Marc, I just started weighing in to EFF's and Volokh's request for a new trial, Obsidian's response, etc., today. Thanks for the link to Hernandez's decision. I wanted that.

    I'm a layman so take what I say with a grain of salt, but from what you and others posted, it seemed very clear to me that Hernandez thinks bloggers can be journalists, but Cox is a crook. I think that's exactly right. He sounded eminently reasonable.

    Now my question is is that something he's saying now to cover his rear end and trial judgment from criticism or is that something he made adequately clear in forming his judgment?

    Anyway, she knows all about this now (see her rant on the marcradazza site) and is no doubt now moving to attack those who have criticized her here, a task skillfully and effectively made simpler by Christoph.

    Ken, I've agreed with 90% of what you've written on the site (much higher, in fact, than I do at other sites I frequent), and I wasn't being sarcastic when I called you an uproariously funny writer also. But my criticism of you was fair, I felt. Not only was it fair, but it's actually highly relevant to me personally, since I don't necessarily want to be outed at this point, for all the excellent reasons you make in your post on the subject — and it isn't like I have never clashed rhetorical horns with a blogger so it's even more relevant to me than most. It's to your credit that you allowed the criticism to be published.

    It would be even more to your credit if you said, "I did it for this very good reason: …." or, "I didn't have a very good reason. It was an oversight; I'll apologize to the fellow, and I won't do it again."

    A smart man's blog which I started reading recently had this on it:

    "Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone makes errors of judgment.

    "In most cases, we apologize, fix our mistake, and move on. Since we’re all fallible, folks tend to forgive and forget — or at least tolerate — the occasional error."

  76. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:18 pm

    I honestly think Ken's "error," if error it was, was a minor infraction. When the "victim" was contacted, he doubled down on his idiocy, and didn't appear to be in the slightest ashamed of it or concerned with his anonymity or concerned that he'd been identified. He was proud of himself. When you send a person an email, in the absence of an explicit promise of confidentiality, there's no guarantee it won't be shared with the world. Ken's probably humbled himself already by his acknowledgment of your skill and effectiveness above about as much as we could reasonably expect.

  77. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:31 pm

    From anyone who hadn't written diatribes on not outing people, I might (might) be inclined to take that more seriously. B

  78. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:33 pm

    Ken just updated the post in question in I think a very classy manner.

  79. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:35 pm

    I hit enter too fast. Continuing.

    But when a blogger emails a commenter and gets in a spat with him, I don't think publishing the guy's name and email address — particularly after you've promised in writing not to — is fair pool. Were it, then just emailing a commenter (or anyone) and getting a reply back would now entitle you to out them.

    The commenter shouldn't have to beg for anonymity. It may not even have occurred to him that he was having anything other than a private disagreement with a blogger who took umbrage at his comment.

    Anyway, I agree with you that that's the most that will be forthcoming.

  80. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:35 pm

    Good, John, I'll read it. I'm glad I was mistaken in my last sentence.

  81. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:41 pm

    I just read it, John. I agree it was classily written; the tone and content were right on.

    I feel more confident commenting here. I'll say no more about it.

  82. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @1:53 pm

    What I will say though is, Marc, I couldn't get that Tiny URL to work. However I found a Scribd version here:

    Original Decision by Judge Hernandez

  83. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:01 pm

    I am probably about to reveal how ignorant I am of First Amendment litigation, but these parts of Judge Hernandez' opinion denying the motion for new trial struck me as especially interesting: "It is also important to note that in the new trial motion, defendant raises an entirely different argument. Instead of arguing that her status as "media" inserts a fault component into the defamation claim, she contends that there is no special First Amendment protection for
    "media" defendants and that all defamation claims, even those between a private plaintiff and a private defendant on a matter of private concern, require at least negligence by the defendant.
    This argument was not raised and therefore not addressed at trial. In addition, while the Supreme Court may one day expressly reach the conclusion urged by defendant in this motion, I do not believe it has done so and thus, the jury instructions in this case did not erroneously state the law. . . . It is not enough to say that post-Gertz cases have held that media and non-media defendants are treated alike because that statement fails to answer the pivotal question in this case and fails to support the basis of defendant's motion: that a negligence standard, at a minimum, is required in all defamation claims even absent a public figure, public official, matter of public concern, or a media defendant."

    I am exposing my ignorance of First Amendment litigation by admitting that I assumed it was already true that a negligence standard, at a minimum, is required in all defamation claims. If this question has not yet been decisively decided by the SCOTUS, it should be, and by itself suggests that this appeal should be taken. Consider the Rakofsky case for a minute: Imagine that whatever media outlet it was that first reported the story in fact got the facts wrong and that that story in fact defamed Rakofsky. Wouldn't all the bloggers who then repeated that story be liable for defamation, negligence or no negligence, given the jury instructions in this case?

  84. Jess  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:21 pm

    Thanks Marc, I used the link provided by Christoph to read through Judge Hernandez's decision. What really caught my attention was the bit about
    "Defendant fails to bring forth any evidence suggestive of her status as a journalist. For example, there is no evidence of . . . . .(7) contacting "the other side" to get both sides of a story. Without evidence of this nature, defendant is not "media."
    Any REAL journalist worth their salt who wants to be taken serioulsy always contacts the other side and gives them an opportunity to comment. If nothing else it keeps you from looking like a total twat. If the woman could for a moment get her vile temper under control and take the high road on this and actually DO the job of an investigative journalist I might be inclined to at a minimum entertain her commentary wiht any credibilty. She doesn't and I remain convinced she is as Mr. Thompson has stated "bat-shit crazy"

  85. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:26 pm

    John, is she entitled to a new trial based on a legal argument she did not make in the original trial?

  86. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:28 pm

    Can any of the Lawyers present comment on the possibility of getting Ms. Cox labeled a stalker of children (considering the website in the name of a 3 year-old) and put on a sex-offender list? The laws about such lists are so badly defined that it seems to me that there should be a way to do this, but not only am I not a lawyer, I don't play one on the internet.

    Ms. Cox certainly deserves to be publicly branded as a creep.

  87. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:32 pm

    C. S. P. Schofield, I'm not a fan of Crystal Cox, but that sounds abusive to me. She'd have to be convicted of a sex offense to start with, and she's never even been accused of one.

    I think that there could easily be issued a restraining order against her to protect the children and both adult Andrazza's, plus I think Marc could gain ownership of most of those domain names, and maybe criminal Cox should be charged criminally for extortion (and even stalking) — but I would never support her being put on that registry for creepily registering a domain name.

  88. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:36 pm

    I mistyped in my last comment. When I wrote:

    I think that there could easily be issued a restraining order against her to protect the children and both adult Andrazza's, plus I think Marc could gain ownership of most of those domain names, and maybe criminal Cox should be charged criminally for extortion (and even stalking) — but I would never support her being put on that registry for creepily registering a domain name.

    I meant to type:

    I think that there could easily be issued a restraining order against her to protect the children and both adult Andrazza's, plus I think Marc could gain ownership of most of those domain names, and maybe criminal Cox should be charged criminally for extortion (and even stalking) — but I would never support her being put on that registry for creepily registering a domain name.

    While I think it's entirely possible some of Cox's actions were criminal, I did not mean to say she is a criminal — that was a typo. Any allegations against her would have to be tested in court, after she had been found competent to stand trial, and charges would have to be brought in the first place, which they have not been.

    She's someone whose actions I find deplorable but she is not, as a matter of fact, a criminal. She has the presumption of innocence.

  89. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:39 pm

    Christoph, I hope so. If strict liability was the standard that was used at her trial, that's bogus, IMHO.

  90. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:43 pm

    I'm still grasping what you're saying, John, and will think about it some more and look into it. Was strict liability the standard though? Seems to me she exhibited actual malice, and easily negligence.

  91. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:51 pm

    From the judge's opinion:

    The jury was instructed, inter alia, that

    [t]he plaintiffs claim that the defendant defamed them. This requires the plaintiffs to prove it is more likely true than not that:
    1. The defendant communicated a fact about the plaintiffs;
    2. What the defendant communicated was false and defamatory;
    3. The defendant published the communication to a third person;
    4. The third person reasonably understood both that the communication
    was about the plaintiffs and had a defamatory meaning; and
    5. The defendant's communication damaged the plaintiffs.

    Dkt #92 at p. 10. The jury was also instructed that "[d]efendant's knowledge of whether the statements at issue were true or false, and defendant's intent or purpose in publishing those statements, are not elements of the claim and are not relevant to a determination of liability." Id. at p. 11. I gave these particular instructions because I rejected defendant's arguments that she was "media," that plaintiffs were public figures, and that the blog post referred to a matter of
    public concern, and thus, that a higher standard of fault was required.

  92. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:51 pm

    Christoph,

    I hear what I think you are saying, and you have good points. The fact that Ms. Cox has chosen to include a very small child in the battlefield inclines me to be hard on her, and by her own showing she is an extortionist. That puts her, to my mind, several rungs lower than some poor slob who was caught peeing against a wall and arrested for exposing himself.

    Anyway, may her karma catch up with her soon.

  93. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @3:57 pm

    Well that seems a bit odd, John. I too would have thought actual negligence would be a requirement, but maybe not. Good question.

    I hope some knowledgeable lawyers will pipe up.

    Question for you though: Are you sure that Hernandez isn't contrasting the higher standard of malice (defendant knowing the statements were false) with negligence (defendant having no bona fide reason to believe the statements were true), rather than a lower standard than that?

    I mean, I don't know that you're communist, but I don't know that you're not. So I can't do an investigative media blogging report that you're a dirty commie, can I?

    I got to have some basis for thinking so before saying so, don't I?

    Maybe I'm missing something here. I am trying to understand your point, and whether you understood what Hernandez was getting at, and if I do.

  94. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @4:01 pm

    The fact that Ms. Cox has chosen to include a very small child in the battlefield inclines me to be hard on her, and by her own showing she is an extortionist. That puts her, to my mind, several rungs lower than some poor slob who was caught peeing against a wall and arrested for exposing himself.

    No arguments with that.

  95. John Kindley  •  Apr 1, 2012 @4:38 pm

    Christoph, I am quite confident that the instructions as I described them above were the ones given to the jury, as I copied and pasted them from Hernandez' opinion. I'm pretty confident I've understood what Hernandez was getting at. The concluding paragraph of the part of the opinion dealing with the jury instructions reads as follows:

    "In the end, the Supreme Court, in my opinion, has not squarely held that a private figure plaintiff who sues a non-media defendant regarding allegedly defamatory statements made on a private issue, is required to demonstrate negligence to establish liability. While the cases suggest that a majority of the justices, at one time or another, including the present, agree that the media enjoys no special First Amendment privilege, the cases do not show that a majority of the Court has agreed that if defendants in defamation cases are to be treated alike, what follows as a matter of course is a fault requirement for all plaintiffs in all defamation cases, regardless of the status of the plaintiff or the defendant. Without such agreement, the instructions given to the jury in this case were not plainly erroneous and the motion for new trial on this basis is denied."

    That is, no fault whatsoever on the part of Cox was required at trial for her to be found liable.

  96. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @4:44 pm

    Hm.

  97. Joe  •  Apr 1, 2012 @4:48 pm

    Well there are other Cox victims. As noted on a report filed on http://www.ripoffreport.com on Feb. 24, 2012

    Ten Lakes Realty Crystal Cox Crystal Cox is an internet terrorist and an extortionist. If you decide to not deal with her she will slander and extort you on line until you pay her hush money. Eureka, Montana

    Print this Report

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    1Author0Consumer0Employee/Owner

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    What's this?

    Arbitrate
    Set The Record Straight!

    Repair Your Reputation
    …the right way!
    Corporate Advocacy Program

    Avoid Ten Lakes realty, Crystal Cox and anyone associated with it. Namely Leslie Turner. Cox is a internet terrorisim and extortion specialist. If you do not deal with her bipolar socio psychopathic personality she will slander adn make up lies about you, your family and anyone associated with you until you pay her to remove these lies.
    She is a mentally derranged individual who should be avoided at all cost for your personal and financial safety.

    Avoid Ten Lakes Realty and Crystal Cox at all costs!!!!!

  98. Ken  •  Apr 1, 2012 @4:51 pm

    I saw that one, Joe. It's part of what makes me think that there are other victims out there. It's my hope that writing about Crystal Cox will bring other victims out to tell their stories — and that if we gather enough, including some who have paid the extortion money demanded of them, we can interest federal authorities in prosecuting.

  99. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:05 pm

    Alas, Joe, while I have no reason to doubt the veracity of that report, "RipOff Report" might not be the most trustworthy source of information.

    I haven't looked into it much, but Droid — who has a reputation for doing his homework or he'd get sued silly — seems to feel it's a protection racket. In other words, what Crystal Cox is doing, but slicker and less teh crazy.

  100. Joe  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:22 pm

    Christoph – exactly. Because the site is poorly organized and there is no moderation to at least filter out the crap, there is therefore a lot of crap. On occasion there are some valid reports but I've found most to be filed by some whiner that couldn't be bothered to read a contract, pay a bill on time, or paying attention to where they parked their car, etc. But in this case the report is consistent with what else we've seen of her behavior.

  101. Christoph  •  Apr 1, 2012 @5:26 pm

    Carlon Haas (who I am not, by the way) of Don't Step in the Poop has this to say about RipOff Report

    "Well, there’s the famous Rip-off Report that lets people post whatever they want about any business and then allows businesses the pay the owner of the site money to investigate the claim and remove it.  Of course, if they don’t pay, the claim stays there…regardless of truth.  Hmmm.."

    Droid's post, which I just linked, has more analysis, including how the part of the Communications Decency Act which Lieberman wants to overturn may provide a legal fig leaf for RipOff Report's actions, provided only that they don't create any of their own reports (which they've been accused of).

  102. Christoph  •  Apr 2, 2012 @12:48 am

    John,

    I was thinking about what you said and I certainly have no response for it. I'm not sure. You could be totally right and certain of yourself, but I know for a fact I'm not certain myself.

    So out of curiosity, I asked Marc Randazza about it here: comment may still be in moderation. I hope he pitches in with his 2 cents, even if it's in agreement with you to set me right. When he allows it through moderation and you read it, forgive me if my wording expressed less than certainty in your conclusion — it could simply be that you're right and I don't understand it.

  103. Panzersage  •  Apr 2, 2012 @1:58 am

    I've been wanting and thinking about doing a blog of my own for a while now. This incident is the final push I needed to starting one. I may even make it my opening post as getting more spotlights on Cox is exactly what is needed here.

    I am reminded of an Old Monty Python Sketch.
    http://youtu.be/cNZKUozrBl4

    Ann: Words can't describe how self-obsessed you come off in your near incoherent posts. If I understand you correctly this is your problem:

    1: You received an email from someone and claim it is because someone on a completely separate blog leaked your email address. You provide no links, no quotes, and no evidence to back up your claim.

    2: SJ comments negatively on a woman who is running an extortion scam while harassing, threatening, and defaming innocent people.

    3: Since you've received a bad email from someone who is just a commenter on SJ it means that he is a hypocrite for this.

    I hate to invoke Godwin's Law, but this is the equivalent of you saying that an individual who supports the death penalty is a hypocrite because he thinks the Holocaust was wrong.

  104. John Kindley  •  Apr 2, 2012 @5:47 am

    Chritoph,

    Ah, the perils of professing ignorance: People take you at your word even when what you say is a quote easily verified by the source!

  105. Christoph  •  Apr 2, 2012 @7:27 am

    John Kindley, I'm not sure what you mean. If you think I'm just pretending to be unsure about the legal standards in libel cases, definitely not "professing ignorance". Actually trying to figure it out.

    If you mean the momentous April Fools day joke that got Popehat and half the legal blogosphere buzzing yesterday (and I don't think you do), that was phenomenal.

  106. Christoph  •  Apr 2, 2012 @7:45 am

    At any rate, John, Marc Randazza replied to my comment on his website and said (I was going to paraphrase, but I don't want to get him wrong, so here goes):

    He is understanding it incorrectly. People have a hard time reversing their views on things. When this story first broke, many (including me) had a reflexive reaction to it.

    What seems to have happened here is harmless error, if any error at all. If the jury didn’t have to find fault, and thus Cox lost, that’s where we are now, right?

    But, do you think, based on any of the facts found in this case, that she’d be exonerated if fault were at issue? The Ninth isn’t going to reverse Hernandez when the result would have no chance of changing the outcome. If it does, it may do so with some bad binding precedent.

    I'm not holding Marc Randazza to be some kind of infallible god in these matters, but I wanted to see what he had to say (would also like to see Ken's and others' take if they'll offer it).

    I think what Marc is getting at is that Hernandez' decision would never be reversed for being held to a "no fault" standard, since Cox's behavior was so egregious it would have met any higher standard you care to name. At least I think that's what he was saying. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I don't know about whether an incorrect standard at trial, if you're right on that, would be sufficient to overturn the decision :: but I certainly agree her conduct would have met either a negligence or malice standard.

    If you feel like replying over there instead of here, works for me. Either/Or.

  107. anarchic teapot  •  Apr 2, 2012 @7:48 am

    Registrant:
    In Love and Light Reverend Crystal Cox

    *blink* That's straight off http://whois.domaintools.com/fuckmarcrandazza.com just now. I usually try to avoid this sort of statement but right now my only thought is: this woman needs psychiatric help, fast.

  108. John Kindley  •  Apr 2, 2012 @7:48 am

    Christoph, I was referring to my confession of ignorance regarding First Amendment litigation above. I confessed that I had wrongly assumed that at least negligence was required in all defamation cases. (It has apparently damaged my credibility even as to easily verifiable quotes!) But I think you and I can be certain that no such fault was required in this trial. All we have to do is read the trial judge's opinion denying the motion for a new trial.

  109. Ken  •  Apr 2, 2012 @7:52 am

    (would also like to see Ken's and others' take if they'll offer it).

    Obviously I don't represent any party in this case. However, I do have clients. For reasons I won't discuss, this year I won't be offering any analysis of the interplay of harmless error, plain error, and erroneous jury instructions (an interplay, by the way, which can be insanely complicated).

  110. Christoph  •  Apr 2, 2012 @7:59 am

    Fair enough, Ken.

    John, yeah, I got what you were referring to after you posted. I'm also surprised the minimum standard in a libel case wouldn't at least be negligence.

    That seems a really basic point. If anyone knows for a fact the minimum standard for libel cases in general, that would be intersting, not to mention useful.

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