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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

U-M student files harassment lawsuit against Andrew Shirvell

Shirvell (left) with image he created of Armstrong 
for his blog (inset)


The current University of Michigan student body president filed a lawsuit Friday saying a former assistant state attorney general stalked him and inflicted emotional distress last year by posting alleged defamatory statements on a blog as part of a “bizarre personal obsession” that included calling him a Nazi, Ku Klux Klan member and a “radical homosexual activist,” according to a lawsuit.

Chris Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president at U-M, filed the suit against Andrew Shirvell in Washtenaw County Circuit Court. He is asking for more than $25,000 in damages.

Shirvell was not immediately available for comment this morning. He was fired in December from the attorney general’s office for using public computers for his blog and for lying to the attorney general’s staff about that use, the office said in an investigative report.

“This guy has behaved so irresponsibly, especially for an attorney,” said Armstrong’s attorney, Deborah Gordon. “He’s a rebel without a cause.”

Shirvell showed up at a number of public meetings last year to protest Armstrong and also wrote blog posts about Armstrong, saying he was pushing a “radical homosexual agenda.” Shirvell also appeared on CNN and repeated many of his claims against Armstrong.

Shirvell was banned from U-M’s campus, an order later modified to ban him from being in the same place as Armstrong. U-M police also asked the Washtenaw County prosecutor to authorize stalking charges against Shirvell last year, but the prosecutor declined, saying Shirvell was exercising his free speech rights.

“At this point, it’s not about the money,” Gordon said. “Mr. Shirvell has refused to retract any of his bizarre and untruthful points. We want to set the record straight.”

The state bar’s Attorney Grievance Commission is investigating Shirvell’s actions because Armstrong and Gordon each wrote letters asking for Shirvell’s disbarment.

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or


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