Ngo filed a complaint in Portland, Oregon in 2020, claiming assault and other injuries over alleged acts of violence carried out by members of Antifa, which began in 2019. Defandants John Colin Hacker and Elizabeth Renee Richter have been accused by Senior Editor of Post Millennial Andy Ngo of assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, which was argued before a civil jury for more than a week at the Multnomah County Courthouse.
Defendants Hacker and Richter, who allegedly work as Antifa's "doxxers," which after identifying Ngo had led to a series of physical beatings on May 28, 2021, were found by the jury on Tuesday not liable for all of these claims. Evidence provided during the trial, along with testimony given by both defendants, asserts Ngo's claims in the complaint.
During closing statements, defense lawyer Michelle Burrows told the jurors that not only does she self-identify as both a progressive and an “anti-fascist,” she strongly declared, "I am Antifa" and insisted upon making herself an "I am Antifa" t-shirt, which she said she would wear after the trial. Despite Antifa's significant recorded history of violence, she told the jury that Antifa's unfavorable reputation is untrue and depicted the organized militant group as activists fighting for social justice and civil rights.
In defense of Antifa, Burrows said, "Resistance in this country has never been peaceful."
However, as she argued before the jurors, Ms. Burrows admitted that the"“black clad people" that had physically beaten Ngo were, in fact, "terrorists."
Defendants Elizabeth Renee Richter (L) and John Colin Hacker (R)
The defense attorney went on to say that journalist Andy Ngo has dirty hands. She indicated that Ngo is a "doxxer" as well because he uploads publicly available mugshots of Antifa-affiliated individuals that have committed crimes on his Twitter account, which has over one million followers.
In addition, the defense lawyer said that since the US has an "unregulated internet," Ngo needs to "take responsibility" for the words he says on the internet, and added that his "conduct has not been pristine." She also attacked Ngo's credibility as a journalist despite providing the jury with no evidence of the allegations that would have discredited him, other than saying that he's a "liar" that provides "half-truths."
Furthermore, Burrows claimed that Ngo's reporting has created a "rage machine that has generated so much revenue for Mr. Ngo."
Before closing statements, Judge Sinaplasai informed the court that the trial’s jurors have raised concerns about being “doxed,” and claimed that people have been trying to find out their identities. The judge then enacted even stricter safety measures then what had already been ordered for the trial.
After announcing her retirement and that this would be her last trial, Burrows told the jurors that she "will remember each one of their faces." Burrows did not take the time to provide evidence as to why the two defendants should be free from charges, but rather used the time to defend anti-fascism and attack Ngo’s credibility as a journalist.
The attorney for Andy Ngo, Dorothy Yamamoto, had a different approach in her closing statement. Yamamoto went through each charge levied against defendants Hacker and Richter and provided the jury with substantial evidence relating to each charge, and why the defendants should receive each charge pertaining to assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In her rebuttal, the attorney encouraged the jury "to be mindful of what is evidence, and what the attorneys have been saying."
"I've heard allegations and things that have happened that are not evidence. There has been a lot of attacks against my client's credibility as a journalist. He lies, he misstates. Did the defendants show you his actual posts," Yamamoto questioned after the defense team failed to provide evidence of Ngo's alleged inaccurate reporting during the trial, claims that were used to discredit him.
Yamamoto explained to the jury that while Hacker and Richter may or may not have physically beaten Ngo on the night of May 28, 2021, the defendants can still be held liable for battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress due to state law.
In regard to battery, the defendants would have to be found guilty of intending to cause harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff, and directly or indirectly caused a harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff.
Yamamoto argued that this charge applies to Hacker when the defendant had poured water on Ngo and slapped Ngo’s phone out of his hand on May 7, 2021, which Hacker had admitted during testimony.
Regarding May 28, 2021, the two defendants can be held liable for battery by substantially assisting or encouraging someone to commit battery. The evidence provided was Richter and Hacker identifying Ngo which led to him being physically beaten.
“The key fact was to identify an infiltrator and beat up the infiltrator. Is identifying the infiltrator substantial assistance? Is that encouragement to commit assault?” Yamamoto asked.
“You also saw evidence of the defendants’ inability to identify anyone. Is that encouragement? Is that substantial assistance?” Yamamoto questioned, adding “Is it encouragement by not revealing identities. Does that encourage them to continue attacks if they know they won’t be held accountable.”
Yamamoto provided evidence to the jury that was shown during trial in which Hacker and Richter were seen on surveillance video shortly after Ngo had been beaten, and only after they had revealed his identity.
In regard to causation in concert, in which evidence would have to show that the attacks on Ngo were mutually contrived or planned, agreed on, performed in unison, or done together, Yamamoto explained that Richter’s tweet, which was provided as evidence during trial, applies to this charge. After Ngo was beaten, Richter had tweeted, "Our comrade that is a f*cking bad*ss spotted him."
Ngo’s attorney explained that assault in civil does not require contact, but rather intent and the plaintiffs awareness.
According to Ngo's lawsuit, on May 7, 2019, John Hacker splashed an unknown liquid onto Ngo at a local gym, and then forcibly took Andy's phone. When Hacker refused to release the phone, gym employees allegedly interfered and returned the phone to Ngo. According to plaintiff Ngo, management later terminated Hacker's gym membership. Hacker testified that these allegations were true.
On May 28, 2021, Hacker allegedly took part in actions that led to Ngo being beaten by an Antifa mob. On that day, Ngo was monitoring Antifa attacks on the Portland Justice Center and the Portland police central precinct when Hacker allegedly approached him. The Antifa mob then yelled, "That's Andy! Get him! Get him!" Hacker testified that he approached Ngo and identified him to another journalist.
Ngo survived one street beating, which was captured on security tape. Ngo was able to flee and ended up at The Nines Hotel on 525 SW Morrison Street. Defendant Richter pursued Ngo into the hotel before being rejected by hotel officials, who asked Richter leave; Richter then backed out, video shows.
Richter is seen on video screaming to Andy, "I can't wait for you to come out, Andy!" Richter is accused of livesreaming and broadcasting video of Andy Ngo in the hotel after he had been brutally beaten by his assailants, describing his location inside the hotel, and verbally encouraging more assaults on Ngo. Video evidence of this was provided during trial.
While defendants Hacker and Richter were found "not liable" by the jury, Ngo's complaint included four other Antifa members who have been found in default, and their damages will be decided by Judge Sinapalasi after the main trial.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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