It's time for the Popehat signal!
Someone needs your help.
That someone is a blogger in Vermont. The blogger writes critically about an industry that — without exaggeration — is universally loathed, and with reason. He attempts to expose criminal conduct by companies operating in this inadequately regulated industry.
Recently he wrote about one particular company in the industry, setting forth evidence and documentation about their conduct. The company sent a threatening (if kind of eighth-grade-level) message through his blog, attempting falsely to tie him to a racist organization.
Later, he learned that a private investigator was talking to his friends, associates, and co-workers, and suggesting that he is associated with this racist organization. He is not.
The purpose of the private investigator is clear: to harass and intimidate the blogger into refraining from writing about this company and its operation within this justifiably despised and frequently criminal industry.
Here's what I am looking for:
1. First Amendment counsel in Vermont, in case he is pursued legally there.
2. Counsel in Vermont who might be willing to consult on a potential slander case against the private investigator and his employers. Telling people that the blogger is affiliated with a racist organization in an effort to silence him is not protected speech.
3. Anyone with a familiarity with the private investigator licensing authorities in Vermont, who might have ideas about addressing the issue.
4. People with computer forensic ability to help trace communications.
Yes, this post is very vague. That's to avoid tipping the bad guys off — for now. Sooner or later you'll hear more. If more than 1% of you disagree with my characterization of this industry I'll cut off my left nut with a spork.
As always, protecting bloggers from legal and extralegal harassment based on their First Amendment activity requires people to be generous with their time. The Popehat Signal rarely lets me down. You all rock. Please spread the work.
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