As many of you know, I’m being sued by 4 people right now. Every lawsuit is time consuming and expensive, even though none of them have any merit, and we have never libeled anyone. The fact of that matter is that the way our current system is set up so that people with the means to do so are free to abuse the court system by filing frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to make people with opinions they don’t like stop exercising their First Amendment rights because they can’t afford to fight back in court.
The lawsuit that best represents that is the ongoing dispute with Jennifer Azadnia, and her lawyer George Leontire. Attorney Leontire is notorious for being aggressive and overbearing. For that reason I am writing this blog today as a call for legal help. I greatly appreciate everything people have donated to show support for our cause, and we will use every last drop of what you have given to fight for free speech.
However, I need an attorney in the south shore area who truly believes in what we are doing and can work a price we can afford. Turtleboy doesn’t make much money, and the company has no assets. All we want to do is continue to voice opinions on the Internet and break big stories that have a positive impact on the community. I want to show you all what we’re up against so you can see how badly these people want to silence us. They would not do this to the New York Times because they know the NYT is a large company with the legal department to fight back. They see me as a vulnerable and easy target, and they want to crush me.
Let me show you what they are now asking for in their order regarding discovery:
Their “expert” is demanding access to all of our stored data on Facebook, WordPress (the website we use to write the blogs), GMail, Apple, WP Engine (hosting company), Wild West Domains, Verizon (my cellphone), and Microsoft. The expert will then enter all of those search terms (including ratchet, my name, Thicky Minaj, etc) into a search bar (not sure how you do that with Microsoft, Facebook, WordPress, Apple, Wild West Domains, or WP Engine) and see what comes up.
Keep in mind, my name is on there. If they search for my name in the Gmail account then every email I’ve ever written will come up, since my Gmail account is in my name. This will give their “expert” the ability to read every email I’ve ever written or received, including private correspondences between me and my family members, friends, attorneys, advertisers, my personal financial statements, my accountant, any social media accounts that use that email address, etc. It’s a complete invasion of my privacy, and has nothing to do with the libel case at all.
Why are they doing this? I assume because they want to get the names of everyone who has ever sent a story tip (particularly about her), and the identities of bloggers, and they believe this will achieve that. If it’s granted then anyone who has ever anonymously sent us a story idea out of fear for their personal safety would have that safety compromised. It would also infringe on our First Amendment rights as the free press by attempting to silence public commentary on matters of public concern. Jennifer Azadnia owns a business, used that business’ public Facebook page to accuse the yoga studio across the street of racism, had numerous complaints from former customers and employees on social media and Yelp, and has at least one billboard on the South Coast featuring Jennifer. This makes her a public figure.
The other things on the list that they want to use as search terms are names like Yasmin Rodriguez, Jessica Mendes, Nicole Avila, Katherine Gomes, Katherine Baker, Lacey Fahy, Arriane Lane, and Talen Lane. I have no idea who any of those people are, but I Googled some of them and they appear to be involved in the yoga world. Maybe they think that we somehow conspired with these strangers to smear Jennifer Azadnia, long after she accused by many online of the things that were alleged in the blog. They previously attempted to depose a turtle rider named Danielle Ladetto, I assume because they thought she wrote for us. They cancelled that deposition without explanation.
Also on the list are Tara and Joseph Winterhalter. Tara owns Ritual Sweat Society, a yoga studio where Jennifer walked into and told them to “wash your hair,” in a video that was sent to us and published. Tara is also being sued by Jennifer Azadnia.
They really want to see who sent us that email, presumably because they believe Tara or an employee did. I have never spoken with Tara and they will be disappointed if that’s what they believe.
Bizzie “Elizabeth” Gold is the founder of Buti Yoga, and is also being sued. Her name is on the search terms, and I’ve never spoken with her either. As with the rest of the names, a search for her will come up blank. The only thing that comes up when you search for Bizzie’s name are private emails between my lawyer and I, which they would have access to. This violates my privacy rights.
Here’s what they plan to get from my phone:
I’m not even sure what most of that means, but they’d be able to see all the personal images on my phone, including pictures of my kids and other stuff that is not for public consumption. They’d also get all my contacts and text messages, which would invade the privacy of everyone I’ve ever spoken to on the phone.
As for the WordPress account he wants a lot of IP addresses.
WordPress doesn’t show you the IP address of people who publish blogs. Additionally they could be using a VPN which scrambles the IP. It looks like this is an attempt on their part to find out who our bloggers are. However, it wouldn’t show them anything, and all it would do is invade my privacy rights.
He wants access to the following Facebook accounts, or the emails associated with those accounts.
All of those are either accounts they believe I operate, or email addresses for accounts that they noticed while we did a live show broadcast. When I sign into my account and the camera is running you can see a drop down of other emails I have used to make accounts. As anyone who has followed Turtleboy knows, we’ve had countless Facebook accounts removed by Facebook, which is why those emails show up. Some of you might’ve made those accounts for us, since I can’t make any more at my house. This is a wild goose chase that will lead them nowhere, and only invades my personal privacy.
They want “electronically stored information and documents” for my Skype account, including IP addresses.
Again, I have no idea what that even means, and I’m not sure they do either.
They want access to all of the email accounts used to create non-existent Facebook pages, even though those email accounts were only created for the sole purpose of creating burner Facebook pages. They also want all records associated with my phone number, as well as another phone number that is one digit off from my phone number. I assume this is because they saw my phone number listed somewhere and couldn’t tell if a 9 was a 1. That phone number does belong to another man, and his phone could be forced to be handed over by the judge if they sign off on this. I don’t even have a clue what the other stuff they’re asking for is.
This is what we are up against.
This is why we could really use legal help. If we cannot afford to pay for attorney fees then a default judgement will be placed against us, the company will file for bankruptcy, the blog could be seized as an asset, and free speech rights will be destroyed. If this happens it means that the wealthy and privileged (Jennifer’s elderly husband Michael Panagakos is a millionaire who has previously been to jail for tax evasion, has sued more people than I can count, and owns lots of property on the south coast) can silence anyone with a legitimate complaint about their companies, simply by filing a lawsuit that the defendant cannot afford to defend. And because they are suing my company the law says that I must hire an attorney, and cannot represent myself.
So if you are a turtle rider and an attorney, preferably in the south shore, I would graciously appreciate if you could send me an email at [email protected] so we could discuss ways you could help me or point me in the right direction. Although I graciously appreciate donations, I have no idea what the fees would be to fight this. I could really, really, really use a lawyer that believes in free press and free speech, and wants to see the good guys win.
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