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Friday, April 12, 2013

Former Nashua blogger loses appeal in lawsuit against U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte, GOP

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former Nashua blogger who sued a U.S. senator after he was booted from several campaign events in 2010.

Christopher King lost his appeal of a 2012 ruling by U.S. District Court. The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the district court was correct in dismissing the case. ...

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A federal appeals court has ruled against a former Nashua blogger who sued a U.S. senator after he was booted from several campaign events in 2010.

Christopher King lost his appeal of a 2012 ruling by U.S. District Court. The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Friday that the district court was correct in dismissing the case.

King had sued U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who was a candidate when King claimed he was unconstitutionally barred from several campaign events. He also sued the city of Nashua and members of the state and local Republican Party.

One of the events was a Nashua Republican City Committee luncheon at the Crown Plaza Hotel that featured controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio as keynote speaker. Police escorted King out of the luncheon after GOP officials asked that he be removed.

In his blog, KingCast, King wrote last Friday that the appeals court “ran away” from the issue without bothering to hear oral arguments.

“These Courts are put here to protect the wealthy, the powerful and the government,” King posted in his blog. “At least the Court had the decency not to assess costs against me, because it knows damn well that it should have at least heard Oral Arguments and pretended to care about this serious issue,” he wrote.

“I am pleased with the 1st Circuit ruling and am confident that the lower court and appellate court properly applied the law in this area,” said Brian Cullen, the attorney who represented the city of Nashua and its police officers on this case. “I see no chance that the Supreme Court will grant certiorari to review the case.”

King said his suit raises issues that cross state lines, and he says he’ll take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Those issues involve whether a private event that aggressively seeks media coverage can cherry pick which reporters attend and which don’t, King has said.

Court decisions in other states have held that bloggers, even authors of highly opinioned blogs like KingCast, are subject to the same privileges and responsibilities as mainstream journalists.

Ayotte and King were Nashua residents when King sued Ayotte, then a candidate for senator, for barring him from campaign events in 2010.

Bad blood between Ayotte and King dates to when she served as the New Hampshire attorney general, and King, then an attorney whose license had lapsed, butted heads with her office in several cases.

King has a reputation as a controversial figure who has been condemned as a contrarian and celebrated as a champion of First Amendment rights.

King sued Ayotte days before she won election to the Senate in 2010. King alleged that he was a journalist improperly barred from three campaign events.

A former reporter for the Indianapolis Star, and a former editor of an African-American paper in Cincinnati, King was attempting to cover the events for his blog.

King has a history of getting under the skin of conservative Republicans, using his liberal-leaning blog and frequent video postings on YouTube as tools to condemn GOP politicians and issues.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashua
telegraph.com. Follow Meighan on Twitter @ Telegraph_PatM.