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UPDATE: Gateway Pundit Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Maricopa County Officials – READ IT HERE!

Earlier this week, Maricopa County thugs – including the Board of Supervisors and Recorder’s Office (the “Election Command Center”) refused to permit TGP’s Jordan Conradson and Real America’s Voice’s Ben Bergquam access to the “Command Center’s” press conferences.

Not only this, but Conradson and Bergquam were REMOVED from the property and then stalked by a County drone!

BREAKING: TGP’s Jordan Conradson and RAV’s Ben Bergquam REMOVED from Maricopa Presser — THEN DRONE FOLLOWS THEM FROM PREMISES (VIDEO)

The County purportedly based its decision on its perception that Conradson does not “avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest,” and that he is “not free of associations that would compromise journalistic integrity or damage credibility,” according to an email sent by the County to Conradson. The County closed out its letter by concluding that Conradson “[is] not a bona fide correspondent of repute in [his] profession.”

We later reported that TGP’s Conradson appealed Maricopa County’s refusal to grant a press pass (no response), and that TGP General Counsel John Burns sent the County a cease and desist letter, demanding access to the press conferences and that the County cease violating TGP and Conradson’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

EXCLUSIVE: TGP Sends Cease and Desist Letter To Maricopa County – Files Lawsuit After Yesterday’s Attack On Journalists

The problem with the County’s denial of Conradson’s press pass – effectively banning him and denying him the ability to participate as a member of the press – is that the denial constitutes a content-based prior restraint on speech.  In other words, the County doesn’t like the positions that Conradson or TGP take, and decided to discriminate against them and censor them on that basis, and prevent them from participating in and reporting on the County’s election press conferences.

The election vote counting in Maricopa County is a disaster and national disgrace.  News media from around the world have descended upon Arizona to cover the unfolding vote counting debacle.  CNN and the New York Times get to access the press conferences because the County presumes they will throw softballs.  TGP and Conradson get banned because the County is afraid of challenging questions, such as: “why the hell does it take an extra week to count 500,000 votes, when Florida counted more than ten million overnight?”

TODAY, TGP’s lawyers, including Burns and Marc Randazza of Randazza Legal Group, filed a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit against Maricopa County, County Recorder Stephen Richer, the Board of Supervisors (including Jack Sellers, Thomas Galvin, Bill Gates, Clint Hickman, and Steve Gallardo), Maricopa County Election Directors Rey Valenzuela and Scott Jarrett, and Maricopa County Communications Officers Megan Gilbertson and Marcus Milam.

 

Some highlights from the lawsuit:

 

“46. Defendants have no basis for [denying press credentials]. The standards are

unworkably and unconstitutionally vague and function as an unlawful licensing scheme to

limit newsgathering to preferred or controlled media.

 

  1. Defendants’ justifications for impeding Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights

are not sufficiently compelling to justify denial of press credentials. Consequently, the only

reasonable inference from Defendants’ conduct is that they have denied Conradson a

“newsgathering license” as a form of content- and viewpoint-based discrimination and in

retaliation for Plaintiffs’ exercise of protected First Amendment activity.

 

  1. The sole justification for Defendants’ conduct is their dislike for Plaintiffs’

politics and critique of the election processes. But that is insufficient to justify such a

substantial restriction on Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.

 

  1. Defendants’ criteria for granting press credentials to the media is subjective

and violates Plaintiffs’ First Amendments rights.

 

  1. Defendants’ criteria for granting press credentials to the media unlawfully

grants them unfettered discretion to choose which media may provide favorable coverage

of Defendants and their management of the election process in Maricopa County.

 

  1. Defendants’ denial of Plaintiffs’ press credentials violates the Freedom of

Press guaranteed to them under the First Amendment.

 

  1. Defendants’ denial of Plaintiffs’ press credentials violates the Freedom of

Speech guaranteed to them under the First Amendment.

 

  1. Defendants’ denial of Plaintiffs’ press credentials violates the Freedom of

Association guaranteed to them under the First Amendment.

 

  1. Defendants’ criteria for determining who is eligible for press passes in

Maricopa County are unconstitutionally vague.

 

  1. Plaintiffs have been injured, or reasonably fear imminent injury, by these

constitutional violations, and Plaintiffs are entitled to relief.

 

TGP also filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).  See below for the TRO Motion.

 

Some highlights from the TRO Motion:

 

“The government’s actions in this case are the government requiring a permit or a

license to gather news. This has never been permissible in America. In fact, such schemes

fell out of favor even before the Revolution. “Licensing of the press was never effective in

the American colonies. The last attempt to enforce this common law right of the crown in

the American colonies failed in 1725.” Chicago v. Tribune Co., 307 Ill. 595, 599 (Ill. 1923).

Whether because the colonists would not accept press licensing or by the imposition of our

Constitution after the Revolution, there is not, nor should there ever be, press licensing in

America. If there were and the Courts did not step in, it “would make it easy for dictators

to control their subjects.” Grosjean v. American Press Co., 297 U.S. 233, 240 (1936)

(discussing press licensing through taxation). Maricopa County appears to believe that it

has found a loophole – while it may not restrain opposition media from publishing by using

a licensing scheme, it has decided that it will impede any opposition media’s attempts to

serve as a watchdog on government by licensing newsgathering.

 

“This court must remind Maricopa County that when Arizona joined the union in

1912, it joined not despite this long tradition of embracing the freedom of the press, but

because of it. Arizona made certain that even if the Federal Constitution ever changed, its

state constitution would continue to protect freedom of the press. “Every person may freely

speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right.”

Ariz. Const. Art. 2, § 6.

 

“This Honorable Court should grant the Plaintiff the right to gather the news, no

matter whether the Maricopa County government likes their viewpoint or their politics or

not. The regulations are unconstitutional, both facially and as applied.”

Here is a copt of the federal lawsuit against Maricopa County.

The Gateway Pundit Complaint Against Maricopa County, Arizona Officials by Jim Hoft on Scribd

Here is copy of the Declaration of James Hoft, founder of The Gateway Pundit

Hoft Declaration in Federal Lawsuit Against Maricopa County by Jim Hoft on Scribd

Let’s hope the Federal Count properly applies the law to both teach Maricopa County a lesson in justice, and further defend the First Amendment – the prerequisite to a free society.

The post UPDATE: Gateway Pundit Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Maricopa County Officials – READ IT HERE! appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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