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Free Speech Lover RFK Jr. Loses Bid to Punish Online Critic

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A federal judge has junked disinformation superspreader Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s lawsuit against a blogger who highlighted the millionaire political scion’s cavorting with far-right German activists in 2020.

Last September, Kennedy—who has lambasted social media platforms’ attempts to contain his fact-free rants about vaccines as unforgivable infringements on free expression—brought suit in New Hampshire to squelch a blogger who posted anonymously on the Daily Kos website about a speech that the late Sen. Robert Kennedy’s son delivered in Berlin to a group called Querdenken.

Posting as DowneastDem, writer David Vickrey correctly noted that Querdenken has been linked with numerous unsavory outfits, including neo-Nazis and violent neo-monarchists, some of whom participated in the mass protest where Kennedy appeared.

Kennedy’s attorneys, one of whom formerly worked for Kyle Rittenhouse, maintained this somehow represented libel.

“In my opinion the guy is a complete fraud. He wants total freedom to spread his lies online, but write something about him he doesn’t like, and he says ‘I’ll sue you,’” Vickrey told The Daily Beast at the time.

Unlike Maine, where Vickrey resides, or New York and California, where Kennedy has homes, the Granite State does not have a statute to deter spurious suits that aim only to harass and penalize public statements the plaintiff dislikes. But Vickrey successfully got the suit transferred from Rockingham County court to the federal district covering New Hampshire, then sought to get it thrown out entirely on jurisdictional grounds, since neither he nor Kennedy resides in the state.

How ‘Free Speech’ Warrior RFK Tried to Bully a DailyKos Blogger

The jurist overseeing the case sided with the blogger, noting that Kennedy failed to show Vickrey had availed himself of New Hampshire’s particular charms when composing his piece.

“Kennedy has not met his burden to show that Vickrey purposefully availed himself of the privileges and protections of New Hampshire law,” Judge Steven McAuliffe wrote in his decision in late January. “Vickrey does not live or work in New Hampshire, he has no meaningful contacts with this state, he did not consult any New Hampshire sources when writing the article, he did not mention New Hampshire in the article or otherwise ‘direct’ the article to this state, and he had no reason to anticipate that the ‘brunt’ of the (alleged) injury to Kennedy’s reputation would be felt in New Hampshire—particularly since Kennedy is not a resident of New Hampshire and his connections to New Hampshire are, at best, attenuated.”

McAuliffe further dismissed as “plainly false” Kennedy’s claim that Vickrey had published his piece with the intention of damaging the wannabe White House occupant’s campaign, since the post predated Kennedy’s announcement of his candidacy by two years.

The judge also pointed out that several claims the anti-vaccine activist made in the suit were “entirely unsupported by the citations he provides.”

Neither Kennedy’s lawyers nor his campaign responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

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