At the Martinsville conference I told a lot of the bloggers present that there was a possibility that therre was a chance the Steve Chapman lawsuit would end before a trial, and that there might be news this past week. Obviously, there hasn’t been any announcements, and that should probably be interpreted such that an early resolution to the case is unlikely. I would have liked to provide some good news on this, but perhaps it will serve the Virginia blogosphere and political free speech in general to have this decided in the courts and a solid precedent established. Right now there certainly seems to be a political precedent, as anyone following in Mr. Chapman’s footsteps significantly risks being associated with this story. I doubt anyone is eager to be branded with “pulling a Chapman”, or whatever the label will become.
It’s unfortunate, as if there was some information which would show BVBL posted erroneous information, there’s no precondition on our part for providing the truth, regardless of the source or the effects of that truth. Lacking any information to the contrary, the accuracy of the original BVBL postings still appears to be undisputed in any material way. And as there seems to be no contradictory evidence, the rationale for continuing this action seems to be strongly suspect, but I am still unaware of anything that may support Mr. Chapman’s claims and it is possible, however unlikely, that there is some such information.
What I do know is that we’re getting ready for an interesting trial. Mr. Chapman’s attorneys appear to have an interest in the participation of some important figures in the Republican party, and that will possibly require other insiders to take part. I have received requests by some interesting political personalities such as Ben Tribbett of Not Larry Sabato to be on the witness list, and the likely strategies may involve a thorough examination of the birth and death of one of the more interesting political careers in Prince William County politics. The timing of this trial may make things even more interesting.
What is known for certain is that Mr. Steve Chapman is the perfect plaintiff to have for an action like this, and his pro-bono attorneys may be the perfect legal opponents to face. If we were going to have a case heard regarding political free speech, blogs, and political campaigns in Virginia, it would be hard to imagine a better set of circumstances.
Please consider making a donation to the BVBL legal defense fund which will help defray the expenses incurred in defending this suit. I’ll bear this burden alone if necessary, but your support will definitely make this burden easier to bear.
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