Lawyer course

Conservative activist sued by Hermon Schools hires attorney who represented neo-Nazi website founder

A far-right Hampden activist turned to a lawyer who faced investigation or disciplinary action for misconduct in four states and whose client list included white supremacists and neo-Nazis to fight a Hermon school department harassment lawsuit.

The Hermon School department sued Shawn McBreairty, 51, in May, saying he went on a ‘personal mission’ to bully one of his teachers and called the instructor a ‘sexual predator’ and “leader of the hypersexualization movement” in statements on social media, his podcast and local radio, and in a letter to the school department.

McBreairty volunteers with the Maine First Project and has accused several Maine school districts, state agencies, teachers and others of indoctrinating students and teaching critical race theory, which he claimed to uncover. through multiple file requests.

To fight the Hermon Schools lawsuit, McBreairty turned to an attorney, Marc Randazza, who defended a far-right talk show host who called the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a prank until a Connecticut judge prohibited him from doing so due to “gross misconduct” elsewhere.

Randazza filed a motion to dismiss Hermon’s June 17 lawsuit in Penobscot County Superior Court with Bangor attorney Brett Baber.

“This lawsuit should be about any American who thinks government should be accountable to the people and that government should not be able to respond to criticism with censorship,” Randazza said in announcing the motion.

Randazza is an attorney with offices in Massachusetts and Las Vegas who specializes in free speech and intellectual property cases and has defended a handful of white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis and theorists. conspiracy in litigation.

He is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, Florida, Nevada, California and Arizona, according to an application he filed to represent McBreairty in Maine and legal records.

But four of those states investigated or disciplined him for unethical behavior, leading a Connecticut judge in 2018 to deny his request to practice in that state as a visiting attorney, according to court documents. and previous reports.

Randazza was seeking to represent Alex Jones, a far-right talk show host and conspiracy theorist, after the families of seven victims filed libel suits against Jones for saying the 2012 elementary school shooting Sandy Hook was a hoax.

The judge charged Randazza with “gross misconduct” and Jones fired him as his attorney.

A spokesperson for Randazza did not respond to a request for comment.

Melissa Hewey, an attorney for the Hermon school department, said in a June 24 filing that the district did not object to Randazza’s request to represent McBreairty.

In September 2020, the Florida Supreme Court placed Randazza on probation for a year for violating conflict of interest rules and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine after negotiating a settlement with a company, Oron, while initiating litigation against the company as an in-house attorney for Liberty Media, a Las Vegas-based pornography studio.

Liberty said Randazza had done legal work for competing pornography studios while appearing at those studios as an independent attorney who had occasionally contracted with Liberty. Randazza also pushed those studios to pay him in exchange for not suing them on behalf of his employer, Liberty executives argued.

Randazza resigned from Liberty in 2012, and the studio demanded that he hand over a separate $75,000 settlement he had negotiated with Oron. Randazza then sued Liberty in 2015 for back pay, wrongful termination, and harassment for being heterosexual because Liberty primarily produces gay pornography.

The arbitrator instead found that Randazza wrongly withheld the settlements of the cases he argued for Liberty and ordered him to pay more than $600,000 to his former employer. Randazza then filed for bankruptcy, forcing his insurance company to pay Liberty’s compensation.

In Nevada, the bar filed a lawsuit in 2016, after which Randazza pleaded guilty to two offenses in 2018, of bribing Oron and of lending money to a client “without notifying the client in writing of the opportunity. to obtain independent counsel,” according to legal records.

The Nevada Supreme Court agreed to extend his probation period from 12 months to 18 months, on the condition that he avoid racking up further ethics complaints, pay a $2,500 fine and follow 8 p.m. ethics training.

The Nevada investigation also inspired investigations against Randazza’s licenses to practice in Arizona and Massachusetts.

An Arizona judge reprimanded him for failing to avoid conflicts of interest and placed him on 18-month probation in January 2019 and ordered him to pay a fine, state court records show. .

The Massachusetts Supreme Court also suspended Randazza’s license to practice in that state in May 2019, but lifted that suspension in April 2020 after Randazza agreed to abide by the terms of his probation in Nevada.

In response to the Hermon complaint, Baber argued that McBreairty’s actions were backed by free speech laws, a similar argument Randazza used when he unsuccessfully defended a white supremacist who organized a campaign. to threaten a Jewish woman in Montana.

“McBreairty’s statements were opinions, not capable of being proven true or false,” Baber said in the motion. He also argued that the school department failed to demonstrate how McBreairty’s actions harmed their employees.

Baber returned a request for comment to Randazza.

“That a teacher might be upset because the public criticizes him is a perfectly human reaction,” Baber said in the motion. “It is also to be expected and hoped that petitioning the government would allow the government to hear the grievances of the public and then improve, not bend like a house of cards and deteriorate in quality like Hermon School. [Department] suggests.

The Hermon School Department said in its initial complaint that the teacher McBreairty allegedly targeted had to change classes, seek counseling and take time off work because of the emotional distress his statements caused, and that other teachers had resigned or threatened to resign because of McBreairty’s statements.

Randazza also defended Andrew Anglin, who publishes a neo-Nazi internet forum, after Anglin published the personal information of a Montana woman in 2017, which resulted in her and her family receiving hundreds of messages. threats targeting them because they were Jewish.

Randazza argued that while he “abhorred” his client’s actions, Anglin was protected by the First Amendment to make racist and anti-Semitic comments on his website, The Daily Stormer.

A judge disagreed and ordered Anglin to pay the woman $14 million in August 2019 after he refused to appear in court and went into hiding.

Anglin’s whereabouts remain unknown and he claimed to live outside the country.