Crystal Cox

Back in December (ahem: three days before Carr’s article) I was unimpressed with the stir over the $2.5 million dollar libel judgment against Crystal Cox:

A non-journalist like Cox is not allowed to defame a person. But—and this is crucial to an understanding of this case—a journalist is also not allowed to defame a person.

. . . .

If Cox had been a journalist, Padrick would have had to demand that she retract her false statements before he could sue her. Cox still—even with a huge judgment against her—has not retracted her statements, so it’s unlikely that she would have when such a judgment was only speculative.

Yes, the court held that, under Oregon’s journalist-shield law, Cox was not a journalist. My opinion of that? Meh. Don’t defame people.

Add to that opinion, “don’t extort people.” It turns out that after Cox posted defamatory information against her victim, she hit him up for money to undo the damage she’d done. From the court’s opinion denying new trial:

[T]he uncontroverted evidence at trial was that after receiving a demand to stop posting what plaintiffs believed to be false and defamatory materials on several websites, including allegations that Padrick had committed tax fraud, defendant offered ‘PR,’ ‘search engine management,’ and online reputation repair services to Obsidian Finance, for a price of $2,500 per month,” Hernandez wrote.

The suggestion was that defendant offered to repair the very damage she caused for a small but tasteful monthly fee. This feature, along with the absence of other media features, led me to conclude that defendant was not media.”

(via Simple Justice).

Crystal Cox may think she’s very clever for coming up with this scheme, but it’s as old as time. It’s extortion, more specifically a protection racket, and extortion is against the law. Here’s the federal statute, 18 USC 875(d) (via Popehat):

(d) Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

That Crystal Cox’s threats are implicit rather than explicit makes no difference. Crystal Cox calling herself an “investigative blogger” is like a mobster with a molotov cocktail calling himself an “arson investigator.”

Crystal Cox tried to extort Marc Randazza by registering multiple domain names including his name and offering him the same “services” that she had offered to her victim in the lawsuit. When Randazza ignored her, she registered his wife’s name as a domain name. When this didn’t get a rise, she registered his three-year-old daughter’s name.

Crystal Cox is, as Ken writes, “the sort of person who registers domains in the name of the three-year-old daughters of her enemies.”

So what do you do about such a vile person?

Padrick took her to court, and got a seven-figure judgment (probably uncollectable) against her.

One could encourage the FBI to investigate her extortion racket, and the right person making a complaint to the right agent might put her in an AUSA’s sights.

Randazza, who’s a First Amendment badass, thinks that the answer is “more speech“:

I’m just dandy. The campaign is now about exposing her so that she can’t engage in her extortion scheme against anyone else. Popehat is leading the charge, and naturally, the Legal Satyricon is next to Popehat, shields to shoulders. Sequence, Inc. is part of the solution too, by exposing the attacks on Kevin Padrick, and shining a light on Cox’s widespread extortion scheme, so is Philly Law Blog, and before any of the law blogger community jumped on the bandwagon, Salty Droid was out there all by himself, shining a little light — which is now accompanied by more and more lights.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

The cure for bad speech is more speech.

I hope Randazza is right.

 

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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2 Responses to Crystal Cox

  1. Joe Pullen says:

    Well Mark, you’ll love the lastest round of mis-direction by Ms. Cox

    Now she is going after Ken White at http://www.popehat.com on this YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6Aqnt0_cvs which she has created without providing any ability for others to rate or comment – why am I not surprised. It’s only OK if SHE says it? Really? She is pointing out a post from someone who commented on Popehat. The comment was NOT a threat but Ms. Cox has twisted it to appear as though it was – just as Ken said she would. At the same time she CLEARLY ignores the two following posts – one from Mr. Randazza and another from Ken White which I have provided below. Just more proof this woman will twist the truth to meet her own warped sense of reality. I’ve included the posts from Marc and Ken below so that others will see they are not threatening Ms. Cox as she alludes.

    Marc J. Randazza • Apr 2, 2012 @11:57 am
    C.S.P. Schofield wrote:
    My hope for Ms. Cox, as I find out more and more about he sleazy behavior, is that she try her extortion on somebody able to make the following interoffice memo come true;
    “Ms. Cox,
    While you were out two large gentlemen named Guido and Nunzio came by. They muttered something about “Kneecaps” and will call again.”

    Marc: Please DON’T ask for or encourage or even joke about that kind of thing. As her only known Sicilian victim, I know that if she winds up meeting with some kind of accident, there will be conjecture that I had something to do with it.
    Plus, remember that we are the good guys. What you should hope for is that the truth about her will be repeated far and wide — and thus, she’ll be incapable of doing this to anyone else.

    Ken • Apr 2, 2012 @3:31 pm
    Yeah, C.S.P., that comment is going to show up in court documents saying we are threatening her with violence. Use some fucking common sense here.

    Ken • Apr 2, 2012 @4:23 pm
    Ok, sorry, that was a little harsh. But she twists everything everyone says, and that sort of thing, even meant in fun, will be used as a weapon against people who stand up to her. Please avoid it.

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