COLUMBUS (AP) – A federal judge has refused to give court-ordered permission for attorneys to question a neo-Nazi website publisher’s relatives about the man’s whereabouts.
A Muslim-American radio host’s lawyers have been searching in vain for The Daily Stormer’s publisher, Andrew Anglin, since they filed a libel lawsuit against him in August. They want to ask Anglin’s father and brother under oath if they know where he is living, so he can be served with a copy of the suit.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers denied that request on Thursday, saying the “prejudice” to Anglin’s relatives outweighs the need for such testimony. Deavers also refused to authorize subpoenas for services Anglin uses, such as web hosts, domain registrars, internet-service providers or banks.
“The Court acknowledges that locating (Anglin) has proven both challenging and frustrating,” the judge wrote. “Yet, the Court is not persuaded that the present record establishes the good cause necessary to warrant the breadth of expedited discovery Plaintiff seeks and that he has exhausted all his efforts in this regard.”
However, Deavers said she’s willing to revisit the matter if the lawyers narrow the scope of their request.
SiriusXM Radio show host Dean Obeidallah’s suit says Anglin published a post that falsely labeled him as the “mastermind” behind the May 22 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in England. Obeidallah, a comedian and Daily Beast columnist, said he received death threats after the article’s June 1 publication.
Obeidallah’s lawyers hired private investigators to look for Anglin in the Worthington, Ohio, area, where they suspect he’s living. But they couldn’t find him at any of the five addresses they checked.
Obeidallah’s lawyers said Anglin has posted on social media about Obeidallah’s suit and accused him of “openly mocking” the court.
Anglin’s site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda. The site includes sections called “Jewish Problem” and “Race War.”
The site has struggled to stay online in the aftermath of violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia over the summer. Domain name registration companies Google and GoDaddy yanked the site’s web address, effectively making it unreachable, after Anglin published a post mocking the woman killed in a deadly car attack at the Charlottesville rally in August.
Other lawyers also are trying to find Anglin. In April, a Montana woman sued Anglin for orchestrating an anti-Semitic trolling campaign against her family. Her attorneys from the Southern Poverty Law Center also have accused Anglin of trying to conceal his whereabouts.