Randazza Defends Bloggers in 1st Amendment Case

Rhett Pardon

WASHINGTON — Adult industry attorney Marc Randazza's a strong advocate of 1st Amendment rights, so much that he typically takes on other non-adult cases that appear to trample free speech rights.

Randazza tells XBIZ that he's defending 30 bloggers who have been targeted in a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP, case.

SLAPP suits are intended to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

"I think it is important for the adult industry to understand that the ongoing struggle to protect free expression is a multi-front war," he says.

"It is just as important for the adult entertainment industry to understand that SLAPP suits threaten to erode the very 1st Amendment that they depend upon to back them up when government censors and crusading moralists come for them."

The case at hand against Randazza's 30 defendants — and there are 50 other defendants represented by other counsel — involves a New Jersey attorney who was tossed from a murder case defending a man after a judge declared a mistrial.

The man on trial asked the judge to kick the attorney to the curb because it became known that he'd never tried a murder case. Not only that, he never had tried a a case anywhere.

Later, the Washington Post wrote about the case involving attorney Joseph Rakofsky, and law bloggers continued the chatter about the Post story.

Taking matters into his own hands after apparently being stung, Rakovsky decided to sue the bloggers and the Washington Post in what appears to be a SLAPP suit.

Randazza on Friday said adult industry professionals should be reminded that threats to free speech should always be challenged.

"I think it is just as important for the adult industry to understand that,as it is for mainstream journalists and non-porn speakers, to understand that when adult expression is threatened, it is a challenge to even non-adult free expression.   

"Nobody who relies upon and cherishes free speech can afford to be myopic about the spectrum of light that shines from the Constitution — and they should all be informed, aware and vigilant to make sure that this light is not darkened for anyone — whether it is their particular ox being gored or not."