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Federal Voter Intimidation Case in Virginia Moves Forward

ALEXANDRIA, V.A. – U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of the Eastern District of Virginia denied a motion to dismiss a voter intimidation and defamation lawsuit against J. Christian Adams and the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF). The case will be moving forward. PILF is an organization headed by Adams and the suit was brought by four individuals and the Richmond Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).  The lawsuit was filed in April 2018, and alleges that Adams and PILF knowingly misrepresented the contents of public records and falsely accused innocent Virginians of felony voter fraud.

Protect Democracy and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice represent plaintiffs in the case, along with the law firm of Emery Celli Brinkerhoff and Abady LLP and pro bono attorneys.  

“We appreciate that the court has acknowledged that this case should be allowed to proceed,” said Allison Riggs, Senior Voting Rights Attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “We are confident that this litigation will ultimately result in a ruling that the sort of intimidation and defamation laid out in this case harms voters and has no place in our democracy.”

Plaintiffs’ claims of intimidation and defamation stem from two reports released by PILF: Alien Invasion in Virginia and Alien Invasion II. The first report was published in September 2016 and accuses voters of committing multiple felonies, from illegally registering to vote, to casting an ineligible ballot. The follow-up report, accusing even more voters, was released in May 2017.

“Both the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act guarantee every eligible voter the right to vote free from intimidation,” said Cameron Kistler of Protect Democracy. “We are looking forward to this case moving forward so that our clients can have their day in court.”

Today’s order can be read in its entirety at: https://www.southerncoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/LULAC-MTD-Order.pdf