First Amendment rights protected finally in Hoff case


Minneapolis blogger and neighborhood activist John Hoff got himself in huge trouble a while back. He busted Jerry Moore for participating in a mortgage fraud scheme. The result was the University of Minnesota fired Moore. This is what bloggers are supposed to do, right? Fight for justice and all that is good? What’s “trouble”about that?

When Moore sued him for damages from getting fired, a judge ruled that Hoff had harmed Moore and fined Hoff $60,000 despite the fact that Hoff never lied in any way and had his facts correct. So much for First Amendment rights of the media.

Personally, I was certain a judge would have ruled differently if the Minneapolis Star Tribune would have done this kind of investigative journalism and gotten sued. But that’ll never happen — Minnesota no longer has any journalists that do anything like this.

Bloggers fill this role now. And that was the danger of this ruling.

Well, Hoff has been vindicated. Finally. Took long enough.

We won. No remand back to lower court, no new trial, just complete and total victory. In fact, the opinion was PUBLISHED and so it will be in the books as something that can be cited as precedent in future situations that may arise when bloggers make truthful statements and, as a result, as one example, somebody who is involved in a mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N. loses his job at the University of Minnesota doing research involving mortgages.
(Adventures of Johnny Northside)

Read a synopsis here.

The implications of the initial ruling were huge for bloggers. What if the dirt I found on a candidate caused them to lose an election. What if I forced to a US Senator to resign. For an unscrupulous Republican US Senator candidate (for example), that could mean millions in lost income once they retire to become a lobbyist not to mention all of the trips to exotic tropical locations on the corporate dime.

If you were an unscrupulous and vindictive Republican wouldn’t you want to take a pound of flesh from the party that had brought about your downfall?