Judge scraps part of NRA lobbyist email case
Though he described disputed emails as “disgusting,” a federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit in which the National Rifle Association’s Florida lobbyist alleged she received harassing and threatening emails after the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer’s claims against California attorney Lawrence Sorensen, who sent two emails to Hammer that included photos showing injuries from gunshot wounds. Hammer filed a lawsuit in July against Sorensen and three other unrelated men because of emails she received — with Hinkle’s dismissal limited to Sorensen.
In the ruling, Hinkle wrote that Sorensen sending the emails “unsolicited to anyone, even a public figure who advocates gun rights, was inappropriate, indeed disgusting.” But the judge said Sorensen did not threaten Hammer and that the emails are protected by the First Amendment.
“Tolerating incivility, at least to some extent, is a price a nation pays for freedom,” Hinkle wrote in the four-page order dated Saturday and made public Monday. “There is no clear line between incivility, on the one hand, and effective advocacy, on the other. Turning loose a legislature, judge, or jury