Former University of Michigan student government president Chris Armstrong prevailed Aug. 16 in his federal defamation suit against former Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell, as the jury awarded Armstrong $4.5 million in damages.
Armstrong, who was represented by Bloomfield Hills civil attorney Deborah Gordon, claimed Shirvell inflicted intentional emotional harm on his blog in 2010, while Armstrong was in his senior year.
Shirvell attacked Armstrong for his “radical homosexual agenda,” calling Armstrong “Satan’s representative on the student assembly” and a “privileged pervert.” He also accused Armstrong of getting minors to drink alcohol and trying to recruit others to become homosexuals. [For a complete rundown of Shirvell’s acts, click here.]
The day before the verdict was reached, the Detroit Free Press reported that “Shirvell questioned himself on the witness stand for more than an hour Wednesday [Aug. 15], trying to convince the jury he was upset by Armstrong’s push for gender-neutral housing at U-M. Shirvell graduated in 2002.
“‘My blog was political speech,’ Shirvell testified. ‘I viewed my blog as a movement to get Mr. Armstrong to resign. I personally felt Mr. Armstrong was too radical for the position.’”
Gordon told The Michigan Daily that she doubts Shirvell’s plans to appeal the verdict will be realized.
“He’s not going to win his appeal. It’s just another waste of time just like this trial was. This should never have occurred, because he just should have retracted these statements a long time” ago, she said.