"it's so fantastical that it's a little bit hard to talk about in rational terms," says an attorney for a journalist whose phone records have been subpoenaed by jim hoft in an ongoing lawsuit in which hoft seeks to prove unite the right was a deep state conspiracy
the journalist whose phone records were subpoenaed by hoft is not even a party to the lawsuit, filed by a witness to the august 12, 2017 attack against alex jones & others who he claims defamed him in publications calling him a deep state agent.
it is... very hard to listen to rational people try to calmly offer legal argument against a delusion.
hoft, through his attorneys, also attempted to subpoena all of the records related to james alex fields' trial from the charlottesville commonwealth's attorney's office. that subpoena was quashed by the judge last month.
"reporters contact the court all the time to get information that is publicly available," judge hoppe says to hoft's attorney, john c burns, who is trying to subpoena publicly available court records via the private communications of various journalists.
i don't think a new york times reporter needs to be "tipped off" or be "colluding with" the department of justice to get access to information that was presented to the public in open court! i saw the video in question in a preliminary hearing in open court in december 2017.
the video at issue here is the footage shot by the virginia state police helicopter of the august 12, 2017 vehicular attack committed by james alex fields. it has been shown in court in both his state & federal court proceedings & is available from the clerk's office to anyone.
burns concedes that it's possible that journalists came to know of the video's existence because of open court proceedings, but argues he needs this journalist's phone records to see if there was also a DOJ leak.
hoft's legal strategy here seems to be that if he can prove a massive conspiracy between "governmental actors" and brennan gilmore, a random witness to the attack, there was no defamation in hoft's statements alleging he was involved in coordinating the violence of the rally.
asked what any of this has to do with mr gilmore, the plaintiff in this lawsuit, burns says he's operating in the manner of an FBI investigation - not wanting to confront his primary target first, but to assemble all the evidence & then confront him with the whole conspiracy.
"i'm just wondering if there's any sort of parameters on this search for a conspiracy," judge hoppe asks jim hoft's attorney, sounding weary.
"there just definitionally cannot be a leak when the information is freely accessible to the public," says the journalist's lawyer. they will not submit an affidavit saying where they got the video because how reporter's gather info is legally privileged.
further, burns' statement that they want to depose the actual plaintiff LAST makes it clear this is a fishing expedition. non party subpoenas, digging into journalists' phone records should be efforts of LAST resort, not first.
burns cites the journalist's attorney's due diligence as evidence of malfeasance (she contacted the ACA to confirm the video is freely available from the clerk. the judge says all attorneys should do due diligence, rather than simply relying on their clients' statements.
in response to the judge flatly telling him it's good, actually, to do due diligence, burns just says "ok."
"it was available for anyone to get here in the federal court," says judge hoppe. "i think it's clear this wasn't leaked." further, "i really question the relevance of this particular video" to the facts of the case.
the allegedly defamatory statements about the plaintiff are that he was an agent of the deep state, that he coordinated with various conspirators to manipulate both the events of august 12 & public perception of them - the judge doesn't see this video as relevant to that
burns has been using "conspiracy" in the legal sense, alleging an actual conspiracy between gilmore, the media, and the deep state. in his statement, judge hoppe says the video is "not relevant to this conspiracy... theory."
therefore, judge hoppe rules in favor of the motion to quash the nonparty subpoena for the journalist's phone records.
prior to this motion to quash being held, verizon actually did produce the records in response to the subpoena. an attorney asks the judge to confirm that burns understands that if he does end up receiving those records, he is not to review or disseminate them.
and that's all for today. this case is absolute madness. hoft is attempting to overcome allegations of defamation by... proving years after the fact that there was vast conspiracy of deep state actors coordinating to fake a nazi rally.
this is, to a mercifully lesser extent, similar to the lawsuit against alex jones (the primary defendant in this case, as well) by the sandy hook families. he gets on his show & makes wild claims about conspiracies that hurt real people.

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