Jan. 10, 2005 – A Texas judge ruled Friday that an anonymous internet user who sent emails to the press and potential voters about Texas politiciansâ€™ wasteful spending has the right to remain anonymous, even in the face of a defamation lawsuit.
Former Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmy Cokinos, who lost his re-election bid last March, had claimed that emails sent from a Yahoo! email user known only as "recall_carl01" were defamatory and asked the court to force the disclosure of the criticâ€™s identity.
But District Court Judge Gary Sanderson ruled that the internet activist could remain anonymous.
Responding to the decision, Public Citizen attorney Paul Alan Levy, who represents "Recall Carl," said: "The e-mails at issue here contained standard criticism of the use of taxpayer money -- not defamatory statements -- and it was well within recall_carl01â€™s right to make the comments. We are very gratified that the judge agreed that this Internet critic has a First Amendment right to speak anonymously on the Internet."