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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blogger loses bid to cover Ayotte

CONCORD – A blogger lost his request for an injunction in New Hampshire district federal court that would have allowed him, if not to cover the campaign of his chief political adversary, to at least attend her victory party.

Nashua resident Chris King said he was denied his request for an injunction Tuesday because, according to the court, there wasn’t enough evidence to support it.

King, owner of an acidic blog called KingCast, had asked for an injunction to cover the campaign of his blog’s favorite target, newly elected Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

In the weeks leading up to the election, King was barred from Ayotte’s campaign events and booted out of a Nashua GOP fundraiser by the Nashua police at the request of the event organizers, he said.

Despite being denied the injunction, King says the rest of his lawsuit remains alive.

He’s suing Ayotte, the Nashua Police Department and the state and city Republican committees.

King wants the court to declare the defendants’ actions unconstitutional. He’s also seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Though the court hasn’t scheduled a date to hear his 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.

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.

King worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in the past. He also is an attorney whose license lapsed after he was suspended for two years.

His blog has raised the ire of many Republicans and Ayotte supporters, though he has also earned praise from others for his activities supporting First Amendment rights.

King received a commendation from former Nashua Mayor Bernie Streeter for championing the right of the public to speak at Board of Education meetings.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or pmeighan@nashuatelegraph.com.