Skip to comments.Tea party leader to be tried on felony charges over email to elected official
Posted on 09/08/2013 5:18:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Before firing off that next email to an elected official, youd better cross your fingers and hope the politician is not feeling anxious about your message.
A judge in Oklahoma Friday ordered the co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party to be tried on felony blackmail and computer crimes charges for sending an email to a state senator who said he felt threatened by its tone, The Associated Press reported.
The judge ruled that probable cause exists that Al Gerhart committed the crimes when he sent an email allegedly designed to intimidate Oklahoma state Sen. Cliff Branan, the Republican chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.....
(Excerpt) Read more at bizpacreview.com ...
Gerharts email demands that Branan give the measure a hearing, or I will make sure you regret not doing it.Sounds like First Amendment protected speech to me.
I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate if I dont hear that this bill will be heard and passed, the email said. We will dig into your past, your family, your associates, and once we start on you there will be no end to it.
anything to silence dissent
OK, it would be interesting to see the full text of that email.
If there is nothing overt in there, then they have criminalized our right to petition our government for redress of wrongs.
But, if there IS anything overt in there, then some folks need to cool their jets ....
Sounds like what the NSA is doing to each and every one of us as I type.....
Not a helpful report. What a dunderhead, but acting like a criminal enterprise is gravy for the media dogs and a set back for a near flawless performance by TP.
We’ve beat back outright lies and innuendo perpetrated by the Pelosi styled media. Sadly a bone has been thrown to them. Just, dang.
Did Sooner Tea Party co-founder go too far with the tone of his email?
No. The email is political speech protected by the First Amendment. (78%, 527 Votes)
Yes. The email was over the top and amounts to blackmail. (22%, 148 Votes)
Total Voters: 675
I have been expecting this...Obumbo’s war on the true patriotic Americans. He can not have them messing with his turning the USA into the USSA, the new Marxist state.
yeah, protected speech. But if your estimation of the “honorable” senator is so low, don’t waste your time on threats. Just start the investigation. Period.
I don’t see what is criminal about that threat. Every political consultant does what this guy threatened to do. How about if he said “I will hire someone as good as Lee Atwater to oppose you”? Last I checked, it’s not illegal to investigate a man, or his family, or his dog, so how can it be illegal to threaten to do so? This guy calling the cops is reason right there to get rid of him.
Just warning everyone to back off.
“anything to silence dissent”
Will Free Republic be next?
My wife is from Russia, and we have Russian TV on our cable. They have a special going right now “US on the doorstep of Fascism?”
What a joke. There is nothing in there that could be construed as a physical threat.
>>It just kind of got the hair up on the back of my neck, he said. It was not your normal email. He had woven family into the email. My two young children are out of bounds.<<
I agree with the Senator. Family is out of bounds. He tried to blackmail him and deserves to be punished.
Not next but on the list.
What’s his crap about voting against HIS will? He is supposed to represent the will of the PEOPLE not his own desires!
A Rolodex of crazy people.
Who has this "Rolodex of crazy people?"
Who puts a name in it?
Who specifies the classification?
"The senator (Sen. Cliff Branan) told an investigator" is not evidence nor is it proof of any crime.
It is simply someones opinion.
So “the Chicago way” can only be used by democrats.
We’d better learn to fight as dirty as them, or we’ll get
nowhere. For future reference, probably better to just
implement the threat, not announce it with a paper trail.
” He tried to blackmail him and deserves to be punished.”
Hardly qualified as blackmail as he says he has nothing, but will search diligently to discover some dirt.
Looking is legal.
As for family being off limits, remember what the Presstitutes did with the Bush daughters?
We will dig into your past, your family, your associates, and once we start on you there will be no end to it.
It’s OK if the government does it.
Uh, Sen. Branan, your actions are the intimidating ones. !
Isn’t this what the media did to Sarah Palin?
Shut up and be a good comrade. You know we have every email and phone call you ever made, and can search and mine and analyze them all in a nanosecond.
Threatening to engage in legal activity is protected speech, especially in the case of a public figure. There is no actionable threat here.
Oh. Well it sort of seemed that way to me. I am not a lawyer but it seems as if when the fellow is talking about family, friends, and “no end” it’s sort of a nonspecific threat. That said it’s hard to get a conviction on this sort of thing. Very well, I am corrected.
I will make you the laughing stock of the Senate” is a threat, but only a political one, and is protected free speech. There is certainly no crime there.
If this type of pressure is illegal, a large percentage of political speech will have been ruled out. Maybe we'll all be the better for it.
But I doubt it.
I'm siding with the First Amendment on this one. Despite the fact that I think this particular TeePer has made an ass of himself.
The threat sounds kind of like what was actually done to Sarah Palin but not as bad.
What is he threatening to do that is illegal? Absent illegality, where is the tort?
That aside, if someone went after my family, I'd have to qualms about "taking care of" the situation as soon as the situation is known by any means necessary. Go after me all you want. Family? I'll do what I have to do - and it will never be in the threatening person's favor because now it's personal.
Yes, I see. I am not a lawyer. Perhaps I am wrong. As I posted earlier I thought the business about friends and family was spooky.
It is spooky; it’s meant to scare the guy. That’s how the IRS coerces compliance. So long as the threat is to do something not illegal, no tort is committed.
HHS has told employers that background checks are discriminatory. The president has obscured his so...
It was a stupid thing to use such a childish threat.
This is exactly why lots of us “normal citizens” who participated in early Tea Party Rallies saw the idiots trying to take charge and backed away.
A tort is a civil wrong. He’s being charged with criminal felony.
"Generally speaking, "assault" occurs when someone threatens bodily harm to another in a convincing way. Assault often is followed by battery, which is defined as unlawful physical conduct (often an act of violence, but also unwelcome sexual contact). Not all threats are considered assault. To rise to the level of an actionable offense (in which the plaintiff may file suit), two main elements must be present: The act was intended to cause apprehension of harmful or offensive contact; and the act indeed caused apprehension in the victim that harmful or offensive contact would occur. Therefore, a person who intends to cause apprehension of imminent harm and succeeds in doing so has committed the tort of assault, which also is a crime.
See more at: http://injury.findlaw.com/torts-and-personal-injuries/elements-of-assault.html
We have become a nation of fags.
No, Findlaw doesn’t say otherwise. It says that the civil tort of assault is also a crime.
Again, a tort is a civil wrong wherein the aggrieved person (i.e. plaintiff) files a lawsuit in civil court and the defendant faces the possibility of paying monetary damages to the person he injured.
This man is charged with a criminal felony by the government, specifically felony blackmail and computer crimes. He faces jail time and monetary fines payable to the government.
I am sure he gets worse threats from leftists on a daily basis
anything to silence dissent
Indeed! It doesn’t need to be a valid charge. Simply having to go through the expense and worry of having to defend oneself from criminal charges IS THE PUNISHMENT! ( Yeah! I am shouting.)
These people are evil.
What the Presstitutes did with the Bush daughters didn’t make it right or what I’d consider legal. Mess with my family and I’ll put your butt in the ground. They are off limits.
The computer crimes only hold up if the blackmail holds up, and the blackmail only holds up if the threats themselves are somehow illegal, and that is going to be extraordinarily hard to prove.
For one thing, doing research on a public figure to find embarrassing information is perfectly legal, and may involve friends, family, and associates of the public figure, so long as the embarrassment is aimed at the public figure, not the private figures. Gerhart’s email is written such that it is ambiguous about the private figures, and generally ambiguity is read in favor of the defendant.
Gerhart’s only real problem is the OK blackmail statute itself. It is horribly broad, and if he loses at trial and appeals this up the chain, it is very likely the statute would be thrown out as unenforceable vague. Text is as follows:
Blackmail is verbally or by written or printed communication and with intent to extort or gain any thing of value from another or to compel another to do an act against his or her will:
1. Accusing or threatening to accuse any person of a crime or conduct which would tend to degrade and disgrace the person accused;
2. Exposing or threatening to expose any fact, report or information concerning any person which would in any way subject such person to the ridicule or contempt of society; or
3. Threatening to report a person as being illegally present in the United States, and is coupled with the threat that such accusation or exposure will be communicated to a third person or persons unless the person threatened or some other person pays or delivers to the accuser or some other person some thing of value or does some act against his or her will. Blackmail is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not to exceed five (5) years or fine not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) or by both such imprisonment and fine.
That statute, as written, denies clearly permissible political speech, almost all of which is designed to embarrass SOMEbody in order to get them to do something they otherwise wouldn’t. For example, most politicians of any party. Traditional blackmail is typically an individualized quid pro quo, some action or inaction traded for money or other pecuniary benefit, with that benefit going to just the blackmailer, not, for example, the electorate at large, and particularly not where the alleged “blackmail” is mainly aimed at trying to get a politician to do his job.
The pen is mightier than the sword. The judge is just protecting the state he gets paid by. The King of England did the same nonsense to colonial Americans. Invest in guillotines, cause there is gonna be great demand.
“What the Presstitutes did with the Bush daughters didnt make it right or what Id consider legal”
AGreed, except for the lil’ fact that public figures have no expectation of privacy.
‘Caesar’s wife’ and such.
I think that my self respect would ever prevent me from attacking a man through his family. That’s just how I feel and I would support laws to that effect.