Lawyer for accused violent Antifa 'ringleader' asks judge to ban TPM reporter from San Diego trial, claims reporting is 'campaign of harassment'

For safety reasons due to past coverage on gang-related criminal trials, Eva Knott uses a pen name.

Andy Ngo U.S.

A San Diego courthouse crime reporter and contributor to The Post Millennial is being targeted by the defense attorney of an accused violent Antifa ringleader in an attempt to get her reporting censored.

Eva Knott, who also contributes to local weekly newspaper San Diego Reader, was the target of a legal motion by far-left San Francisco attorney John Hamasaki on Friday. Hamasaki asks the judge to strip her of her reporting and photography privileges inside the courtroom and to ban her because she works under a pen name. For safety reasons due to past coverage on gang-related criminal trials, Knott uses a pen name.

Hamasaki alleged in his motion: "[Knott] appeared at subsequent hearings and her request for media privileges was granted each time. Eventually [Knott] was granted permission to film and photograph the defendants' faces without blurring their identities. [Knott] then shared those photographs with right-wing provocateur Andy Ngo, who published them and shared them on social media. After [Knott] shared the photographs of the defendants with Andy Ngo, defendants were subject to a campaign of harassment by right-wing extremists."

Hamasaki did not present evidence the defendants were subject to a harassment campaign. He also asks the judge to force her to "destroy" previous court-approved recordings.

Knott and TPM editor Andy Ngo have been co-reporting on a series published in both TPM and the San Diego Reader about the on-going criminal case where 11 indicted defendants are accused by San Diego County prosecutors of belonging to a southern California Antifa cell that organized and carried out a violent attack on the public in January 2021. Six defendants have already pleaded guilty to multiple violent felonies. (Read the grand jury indictment here).

Accused violent Antifa member Brian Lightfoot and his attorney, John Hamasaki

Hamasaki's motion was filed less than 48 hours after a report by Knott and Ngo was published about his client, Brian Lightfoot, who is accused of being one of the ringleaders in the violent attack on Pacific Beach.

Knott is being supported by free speech nonprofit, the Center for American Liberty, which was founded by conservative San Francisco-based attorney, Harmeet Dhillon. 

"There is nothing nefarious or illegal about Eva Knott's use of a pen name to protect her personal safety," said D. Gill Sperlein, an attorney for Knott. "Mr. Hamasaki's motion appears to be nothing more than an attempt to intimidate Eva Knott by doxing her. The motion is based on unsubstantiated facts and it asks the court to exclude a reporter based on the point of view of the media outlets she reports for, which would be a clear First Amendment violation."

Hamasaki's motion also urges the court to pursue felony charges against Knott for using a pen name, which he says is "fraud." 

Hamasaki has a long connection to Antifa, having previously stated he was "proud" to represent Los Angeles Antifa member Chad Loder, who was banned in late 2022 on Twitter for violent extremist posts urging political violence, including through the use of firebombs and murdering people, and for celebrating a Washington state Antifa member who died carrying out a terrorist attack.

John Hamasaki previously represented violent extremist Antifa member, Chad Loder, who was banned from Twitter for calling for murderous violence

John Hamasaki has deleted thousands of tweets like this one since running as San Francisco district attorney

Hamasaki recently ran—and failed—in his bid to replace far-left San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin, who was ousted in a voter recall after advancing a political agenda of not prosecuting many classes of crimes in the interest of "equity." 

In an investigation published about Hamasaki in the Marina Times in November 2022, it was revealed he has a long history of financial woes that call into question his personal and professional ethics. Marina Times reported that Hamasaki and his wife were subjects of nearly $17,000 in a federal tax lien over unpaid income taxes for several years. That is in addition to the Franchise Tax Board of the State of California fililing a tax lien against Hamasaki last year for years of unpaid taxes. Additionally, he has been repeatedly sued for thousands in unpaid credit card debt.

Federal authorities have a tax lien against John Hamasaki and his wife

The Franchise Tax Board of the State of California has a tax lien against John Hamasaki

John Hamasaki was reached for comment.


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