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MILLIONS FOR DEFENSE, BUT NOT ONE CENT FOR TRIBUTE

By Greg L | 21 June 2006 | Blogs | 23 Comments

This was the response in 1800 to the Barbary Pirates who held Americans for ransom whom they captured. Today, Steve Chapman is trying to hold hostage our freedom to hold candidates accountable for what they say in their political campaigns by filing a malicious lawsuit against me. Even though this lawsuit has no merit whatsoever, it will a require substantial financial commitment on my part.

I met with my attorney today in order to start drafting a response to the lawsuit Chapman filed. I was served on June 12th, my wedding anniversary, and have 21 days from that date to file. That will be done.

I will vigorously defend myself because if Chapman were to prevail the resulting damage to society would be irreparable. This new medium of the political blogosphere has such promise to provide the information the electorate needs in order to make better choices and select better candidates. It improves the ability for all citizens to participate in their government. It is the successor to the racous debates once held in town squares across this country. And it is the only medium which is dedicated to constant, continuing, in-depth analysis of local and regional political issues. Blogs hold candidates and elected officials accountable, and if that capability is harmed, the quality of our government will also be harmed.

I could crumble, give in and try to minimize the financial hit that my family will bear in this fight. I choose not to. I stepped up to defend this nation before as an infantry soldier, and now I am called on to step up and defend our liberties as a citizen. The stakes are too high to contemplate cowardice. I will be defiant in my stand against this modern day pirate.

Over the next few days I will be establishing a legal defense fund so you can help me defend these liberties which we all cherish. If you are willing to be a trustee for this fund, please contact me using the email address shown in my profile. BVBL T-shirts will soon be available for purchase, with the proceeds to benefit this fund. The fund will help defray my legal expenses, and those of BVBL if it should happen that he is identified and served in this case.

Steve Chapman, I call on you to end this ill-advised lawsuit which will only serve to drag your political profile through miles of mud and ensure you will never be considered for elected or appointed office in Virginia. If it really is your intent to have every misstep, bad decision, inaccurate statement and dumb mistake recounted to a jury and the press in detail, in order to exact a pound of flesh from me, you will only further trash your political future which has already been greviously harmed by your campaign spokesman in the press.

And as always, if I become aware of information that contradicts statements made on this website previously, I will be more than happy to correct the record and issue any appropriate retractions. All of the information I have received thus far confirms that what has been said on Black Velvet Bruce Lee has been the truth.



The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.

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23 Comments

  1. Anonymous said on 21 Jun 2006 at 11:25 am:
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    Now that I have had the opportunity to know more about you and Mrs. L, I am even more angry about the suit. I hope Mr. Chapman sees the light and drops the matter now entirely.

  2. Russell Harrison said on 21 Jun 2006 at 11:49 am:
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    This issue isn’t about blogs. It is an issue of free-speech. Americans have the right to criticize people running for public office. We have the right to criticize them harshly, offensively and even unfairly. At worst BVBL was mean to Chapman - but we have a right to be mean to politicians. The idea that a politician can sue a citizen for attacking that politician’s qualifications to hold office is absurd and un-American. Mr. Chapman doesn’t understand the constitution, freedom or Democracy.

    Let us also not lose sight of the fact that, as far as I can tell, everything that BVBL said about Chapman was true. BVBL did an impressive job documenting his allegations, to the best of his ability. BVBL even went so far as to file a Freedom of Information Act request to discover that Chapman does not have a contract with Arlington Cemetery.

    To date, Chapman has not made the slightest attempt to disprove anything BVBL said about him.

    The bigger point, however, is that BVBL doesn’t have to prove what he said about Chapman. In a free country, you can criticize politician without knowing if your allegations are true. It is up the politician to disprove them. Some may think that is not fair, but it is the way it works - and it is the way it should work. Citizens need as much freedom as possible to criticize, probe and attack candidates for public office.

    True, it is illegal to lie about someone, even a politician, if you know what you are saying is a lie and if it is malicious. But there is no evidence that this is the case. BVBL believed what he wrote, and backed it up with facts.

    This lawsuit is wrong on its merits and wrong for Democracy. Greg is doing us all a service by fighting it.

  3. Anonymous said on 21 Jun 2006 at 12:39 pm:
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    Mr. Harrison,

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  4. James Young said on 21 Jun 2006 at 4:49 pm:
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    Don’t flatter yourself, Greg. “the resulting damage to society would be irreparable”?!?!? Not hardly. If Chapman were to prevail, it’ll be just another example of the victim of a smear campaign winning recompense against the smear-mongers. It’s now a question of fact and law.

    Is that what you fear?

  5. Greg L said on 21 Jun 2006 at 5:03 pm:
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    James,

    Being an attorney yourself, maybe it wouldn’t be a big deal if someone filed a baseless lawsuit against you. I’m not an attorney, and am smarter than to try to defend myself. In order to defend myself against this joke of a lawsuit I’m going to spend a fortune, even if I prevail, which I fully expect.

    So if meritless lawsuits become a useful defensive tool that candidates can use to shut up bloggers, what’s going to happen to the political discourse? How many bloggers are going to take the more cautious path and simply choose not to say anything that might possibly offend anyone?

    A small but important part of the experience of being an American is that other people are not prevented from offending you. That’s a good thing. That’s part of what is at risk here. And a precedent to enforce PC speech codes would do irreparable harm.

  6. AWCheney said on 21 Jun 2006 at 5:19 pm:
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    The following is a comment from the thread of a posting at NLS (”Some Virginia History,” May 25, 2006) regarding the threat of a lawsuit by Chapman:

    “Bloggers should take notice of this case. There will be atime when they are sued successfully just as newspapers and rags like the National Enquirer have been.

    Malice will be easier to prove against many political bloggers almost all of them are supporting specific candidates or have well-known axes to grind.

    The more a blog wallows in trashy posts, the more likely they are to be sued. Even if the blogs win, a lot of small-time bloggers will have to pay some real big money to defend themselves.

    How many Virginia bloggers can afford to hire a real lawyer?

    Posted by: | May 25, 2006 at 11:24 AM”

    Though an anonymous posting, the lack of style, run-on sentences, and poor grammar are suggestive of the identity of the poster. As you can see, the intent of the lawsuit is quite evident. It is entirely intimidation, which really makes a lot of sense.

    Why didn’t Chapman hire/acquire (pro bono) the same attorney he had for his election law difficulties (Gil Davis)? Why is the law firm he DID hire/acquire so questionable? Why has he never come out publicly himself with the evidence (actually, no one has) to quash the information on BVBL (even if he didn’t choose to come on the blog to do so, I’m sure the local papers would have eaten it up) after being practically begged to do so by Greg and BVBL?

    All the answers are in the above comment from the NLS thread. Greg, you and your attorney might want to look into a countersuit.

  7. Anonymous said on 21 Jun 2006 at 7:25 pm:
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    Two things Greg -

    SAVE all evidence you have of having supported Chapman’s candidacy against Harry Parrish.

    BE CAREFUL about using anything with Bruce Lee’s image in order to make money. You will likely find yourself with another lawsuit. “Someone” who doesn’t like you will surely report you.

  8. Anonymous said on 22 Jun 2006 at 3:30 pm:
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    You need to settle. Now.

    For the time being, I think a fulsome apology will be sufficient.

    The price will only go up from here, even if you “win.”

  9. James Young said on 22 Jun 2006 at 3:44 pm:
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    Greg, you have apparently missed the point that I don’t presume that the lawsuit is meritless. Nothing you have said or presented suggests to me that it is; indeed, many things you have said suggest otherwise.

    However, like many of your comments about Chapman, my point is that your claim that “the resulting damage to society would be irreparable” if Chapman prevails is over the top, and ridiculous. I think it’s too bad that you might be held jointly and severally liable for the misdeeds of your (apparently) unknown co-contributor, except to the extent that you persist in defending his or her despicable behavior.

    As for some other comments (including admonitions to settle; I don’t know enough about the merits to address that point), I would take them as seriously as I suggest you take any other internet legal advice, i.e., not at all. AWCheney’s comments on this point are as ill-informed as most of her rantings; like her attacks on Chapman, it is so much easier than addressing the merits of the issues.

    However, in my experience, if Chapman’s suit is as meritless as you suggest, then your attorney will doubtless suggest that you file a counterclaim or seek sanctions against him. That you don’t may speak volumes about the merits of your position.

  10. AWCheney said on 22 Jun 2006 at 6:50 pm:
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    JY, you are the queen of the ranters in the blogosphere (Molleur is the king). It’s amazing to me that such a renowned attorney as yourself wouldn’t notice that part of my “rant” was suggesting that Greg SHOULD file a countersuit. I also noted on another string that you know so much about the workings of the Virginia Bar Association that you tell us, “It takes very little to provoke a Bar investigation, and most are dismissed as meritless” (which, by the way, is merit less). As a member of the Bar, perhaps you could keep us apprised of the status of the complaints filed against Chapman’s attorneys. OH, that’s right, you’re not a member. Which begs the question, are you a member of ANY Bar Association (having passed the exam), or are you merely ranting?

    For such a learned gentleman, I am constantly amused how, when your betters in the blogosphere call you on your “rantings,” you are reduced to the argument that “anonymous and pseudonymous” posters can have no legitimate argument because they are “cowering in anonymity.” I imagine this frustrates you in my case because I have the nerve to put my name on my opinions…and is why you decided to simply call me whatever nasty adjectives/nouns should happen to enter your “mind” in the heat of frustration (I’m still waiting for the meaning of “OWW and OAB,” …which you attached to the usual “crone” in your comments on a thread on NLS back in May).

    I would suggest that Greg stick to the legal advice of his own credentialed attorney and take your legal advice, and assumptions, for what they’re worth.

  11. Greg L said on 22 Jun 2006 at 11:43 pm:
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    James, I only met with my attorney for the first time yesterday. There’s plenty of time for counterclaims, and I am certain my counsel will advise me on the best way to handle this.

    I am not interested in extracting a judgement from Chapman, so I would have to question the purpose behind doing this even if it was suggested.

  12. James Young said on 23 Jun 2006 at 1:06 am:
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    No, what’s amazing Anke, is the notion that, as ill-advised as Greg’s association with BVBL was/is, that he would be as profoundly foolish as to consider “legal advice” from the likes of you seriously. I have offered none, notwithstanding my legal credentials (though, of course, not as a member of the Virginia Bar, another fact which you manage to get wrong even though it is readily ascertainable; say, on my organization’s website). Somewhat akin to the notion that your advice as to the proper use of language (”merit less” as opposed to “meritless”; the latter is correct, not the former) is anything other than the rantings of a fool.

    I, of course, agree that Greg should take the advice of his own counsel. Which causes me to wonder why you are offering any, since you are neither an attorney nor Greg’s counsel.

  13. AWCheney said on 23 Jun 2006 at 1:18 am:
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    I can always depend upon your lack of reading comprehension to make my point for me JY. No further response is necessary…I already said it all in the previous post.

  14. James Young said on 23 Jun 2006 at 11:27 am:
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    This post has been removed by the author.

  15. Anonymous said on 23 Jun 2006 at 3:38 pm:
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    awcheney is BVBL (The Original)? Seems like a good theory. A few well-placed subpoenas will uncover the truth, however. Subpoenas are always superior to speculation.

    And BVBL (The New One) - if your “counterclaims” have substantial merit, I am sure your attorney will agree to take your case on contingency. If he wants cash, take that as a sign.

    As I said, even a “win” in a case will be costly. Far more costly than apologizing for the apparently false claims about Chapman’s business and high school diploma which appeared on this website.

  16. AWCheney said on 23 Jun 2006 at 3:54 pm:
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    Anon. 3:38PM, how is an attorney going to get a “contingency fee” if he is defending a lawsuit? Because, as Greg has said time and again, he seeks no “pound of flesh” from Chapman and, for the moment (of course, I hope he changes his mind) does not intend to countersue.

    Insofar as me being BVBL…I am not; I am PROVABLY NOT; and I’m not as nice as Greg, so if anyone wants to disrupt MY life, I have no problem going after that pound of flesh.

  17. Greg L said on 23 Jun 2006 at 4:58 pm:
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    Let’s all calm down here before I have to start deleting comments, OK?

  18. Greg L said on 23 Jun 2006 at 11:53 pm:
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    I am deleting posts on this thread because the off-topic and petty posts I’ve seen here tonight are too much. In order to be fair, I deleted an AWCheney post which I really didn’t want to, but I was happy to delete several James Young posts that are beyond the pale.

    This ends now.

  19. AWCheney said on 24 Jun 2006 at 12:45 am:
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    I have no problem with that Greg. The fact is, whatever you removed of mine was instigated by the others you removed. I’m perfectly satisfied.

  20. James Young said on 24 Jun 2006 at 6:40 pm:
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    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  21. AWCheney said on 24 Jun 2006 at 7:27 pm:
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    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. AWCheney said on 24 Jun 2006 at 11:32 pm:
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    ;-)

  23. R.T. Molleur said on 25 Jun 2006 at 2:11 pm:
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    This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

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