The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Masked email activist can remain anonymous, judge rules

by NewStandard Staff

Jan. 10, 2005 – A Texas judge ruled Friday that an anonymous internet user who sent emails to the press and potential voters about Texas politicians’ wasteful spending has the right to remain anonymous, even in the face of a defamation lawsuit.

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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 critic’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_carl01’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."

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

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