In pre-trial hearings, attorneys for Andy Ngo and alleged Antifa respondents are battling to either include or exclude certain evidence, before the start of Ngo’s civil jury trial which seeks $900,000 in damages from alleged Antifa violence, which began in 2019.
Andy Ngo filed an action in Portland, Oregon, claiming assault and other injuries in 2020. Three alleged Antifa respondents have already been found “in default,” and their liability for damages will be decided by the trial judge, likely after the main trial. Those defaulted respondents are Corbyn Katherine Belyea, Madison Lee Allen, and Joseph Christian Evans.
On July 16, 2023, Ngo revealed in a Tweet that he made an agreement with one respondent: “Benjamin Patrick Bolen and I have reached a settlement.” This means Bolen will not be part of the upcoming jury trial.
Alleged Antifa rioter Benjamin Bolen had already made the following statements to the court, in a declaration in 2020:
“Mr. Ngo engages in Stochastic terrorism by both demonizing leftists and posting their personal identifying information online. He knows that this information is used to target his opponents.”
And, “He has a practice of embedding with a group of people from one of these groups, and reaches agreements with them whereby they provide him protection while they instigate a skirmish or physical confrontation that Mr. Ngo films and deceptively edits to further his agenda.”
And, “Mr. Ngo does not care about the truth or about being accurate. Indeed, he is using this lawsuit as a means to raise money.” And, “Mr. Ngo has rushed to judgment with faulty information in an effort to demonize someone with political beliefs that differ from his own.”
A Portland judge already granted plaintiff Ngo’s motions to strike these statements and other statements by Bolen in December 2020.Rose City Antifa
At a pre-trial hearing last week, on July 14, 2023, a Portland judge declared that respondent Rose City Antifa is “not a discreet entity under common law” and therefore cannot be sued nor served, and that judge dismissed Rose City Antifa from the lawsuit.
There are two remaining alleged Antifa respondents who will answer accusations in the upcoming jury trial, those respondents are John Colin Hacker and Elizabeth Renee Richter.John Colin Hacker
One of the attorneys for respondent Hacker is Michelle Burrows, who recently admitted to a judge, regarding plaintiff Ngo, “He has accused several people of doing really terrible things to him, and some people did really terrible things to him.” Attorney Burrows was remarking on video evidence of beatings and attacks that Ngo has survived since 2019.
“Mr. Ngo has already had two or three very violent encounters by people we see in the videos, and they haven’t been Mister Hacker,” Burrows claimed in court.
One of Ngo’s attorneys asked the judge to strike comments made by this opposing attorney Burrows in certain documents. Ngo’s attorney Greg Michael argued, “Miss Burrows’ declaration and the amended declaration both contain exactly the kind of attacking that has no place, certainly coming from counsel, that is going to stir up the kind of trouble that is requiring these additional security measures be taken (to protect) plaintiff (Ngo).”
Judge Rima Ghandour signed a protective order for Andy Ngo the same afternoon of that pre-trial hearing, on July 14, 2023.
“It has no bearing on the motion that they filed, any motion that they filed, there is simply no cause for counsel’s opinions about Mr. Ngo’s political beliefs or affiliations in the record. It has absolutely no bearing on this, on any proceeding currently coming before the court,” Ngo’s attorney Greg Michael argued.
Burrows answered that she was quoting journalists, and she referenced articles that declared “Mister Ngo’s reputation in the community as a reporter or a journalist.” Burrows added, “Mister Ngo invited this lawsuit.”
She claimed about the referenced articles, “They are all accurate, they are all true, they are all articles that are written about Mister Ngo, they talk about his issues with honesty and integrity as a reporter, they talk about his inciting language, things he does to gin up the crowds.” In these remarks, Burrows seemed to blame Ngo for the violence he suffered.
Burrows argued, “He knows that his tweets and his documents that he publishes cause and incite violence and anger in people…” Burrows apparently continued to blame Ngo for being the object of assaults, adding, “And so Your Honor, he knows, he is aware of what he does, and he creates this drama wherever he goes.”
But Judge Ghandour interrupted this argument by Burrows, declaring, “Okay we are not going to go into this argument.” The judge made her rulings, and denied plaintiff’s motion to strike Burrows’ declarations about Ngo. The judge also denied the motions by attorney for plaintiff Ngo, those motions sought to “sanction” opposing attorney Burrows.Allegations against Hacker and Richter
Ngo’s complaint asserts that on May 7, 2019, John Hacker threw an unknown liquid onto Ngo at a local gym, and then Hacker forcibly took Andy’s phone. When Hacker refused to return the phone, gym staff intervened and returned the phone to Ngo, it is alleged. Hacker’s gym membership was later revoked by management, according to plaintiff Ngo.
Hacker also allegedly participated in events that resulted in Ngo’s beating by a mob of Antifa on May 28, 2021. On that day, Ngo was observing Antifa attacks on the Portland Justice Center and the central precinct of Portland police when Hacker reportedly approached Ngo. Persons in the Antifa mob then yelled, “That’s Andy! Get him! Get him!”
Ngo survived one beating on the street, this allegedly captured on surveillance videos. Ngo was able to escape and ran into a nearby hotel, The Nines Hotel on 525 SW Morrison Street. Richter allegedly followed Ngo into the hotel before she was repelled by hotel staff who insisted that Richter leave, she then backed outside. After Richter was outside the hotel doors, she is allegedly heard screaming, “I can’t wait for you to come out, Andy!” Richter is accused of broadcasting video showing Andy Ngo trying to hide from his assaulters, she allegedly described his location inside the hotel, and verbally encouraged more assaults on Ngo. Video showing parts of this alleged assault is on YouTube.
Richter was allegedly recorded screaming at Ngo: “You thought the milkshakes were bad last time! We are going to beat the fuck out of you bitch!” The attack at the hotel was broadcast showing violent actors calling for more violence on Ngo, and beating aggressively on the doors and windows of the hotel, and identifying his location at the hotel.
Respondent’s attorney Michelle Burrows said at a recent pre-trial hearing, “And we do concede that the gym incident is an assaultive incident, and it has been pled in that first complaint for relief…we would like to have the order limiting what evidence is used against Mister Hacker at trial…”
Another respondent’s attorney Jane Moisan also tried to argue claims of fact by plaintiff Ngo, claiming regarding Hacker: “There is no factual support tying him as member of Antifa.” And, “He was present but was not involved in any assault.” And, “The alleged gym incident, we want that to be struck from complaint.”
But Judge Ghandour responded, “We will let a jury decide whose evidence is more credible.”
When Richter’s attorney claimed that her uttered words did not make her liable, the judge responded, “A person acting in concert and giving encouragement can be held liable for that person’s tortious conduct. There are reasonable inferences alleged in the complaint to make a cause of action against Miss Richter.”
The jury trial is expected to go for 5 days. The two remaining respondents or defendants are John Colin Hacker and Elizabeth Renee Richter. In a civil trial in Oregon, typically 9 out of 12 jurors must agree (meaning it does not have to be a unanimous decision) to find a defendant “liable,” the verdict is not worded as “guilty.”
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