Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Online Commenters Outed: Subpoena Issued for "Real" Names

A Las Vegas online newspaper has received a subpoena signed by attorney J. Gregory Damm, from the U.S. District Attorney's office, to reveal the names of online commentors. The Las Vegas Review-Journal editor, Thomas Mitchell, said they plan to fight the subpoena.

Mitchell said anonymous speech is a fundamental and historic part of this country.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's article on a local construction company executive, Kahre, paying contractors with pieces of gold and silver, based on market price and then paying taxes on a lower face value. Here's two of the 175 comments:
One commentator said: "The sad thing is there are 12 dummies on the jury who will convict him. They should be hung along with the feds." Another called Damm [assistant district attorney] a "socialist, fascist Mormon" and a "Nazi moron." The comments are written under pseudonyms. Along with the real names of people who posted comments, the subpoena asks the newspaper for the writers' gender, birth date, physical address, telephone number, Internet service provider, IP address and credit card numbers.
Kahre and Damm have a history. Kahre has sued Damm after a 2003 raid on his business and that case is still pending. In 2007, Kahre sued Damm, the FBI and the IRS and...
Two years ago, Damm prosecuted a similar tax case against nine defendants, including Kahre. The trial ended with no convictions and four acquittals.
Related: Richard Horton is NightJack: British Blogger NightJack Loses Anonymity

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