Metro Weekly

Michigan Assistant AG committed misconduct by harassing gay student leader

The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board will now consider possible penalties for Andrew Shirvell's actions

Andrew Shirvell - Photo: CNN.

Andrew Shirvell – Photo: CNN.

Andrew Shirvell, a former state assistant attorney general, committed misconduct when he harassed the student body president at the University of Michigan, the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board has ruled.

Shirvell, who previously worked under former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, was fired in 2010 after going on a personal vendetta against Christopher Armstrong, the University of Michigan’s first openly gay student body president, Michigan Live reports.

blog (since restricted to readers by invitation only) and a Facebook page (since deleted) ran by Shirvell specifically targeted Armstrong.

Shirvell often referenced Armstrong’s sexuality and accused him of trying to recruit people into “the cult that is homosexuality” and carry out a “racist, anti-Christian agenda,” reports LGBTQ Nation.

He even picketed against Armstrong on visits to the university’s Ann Arbor campus.

Shirvell was later fired by AG Cox, who alleged that Shirvell had lied to investigators during a disciplinary hearing and had posted attacks against Armstrong during work hours.

Cox also justified the firing by arguing that Shirvell’s activism negatively impacted the credibility of the attorney general’s office.

Shirvell has since moved away from Michigan but still holds a license to practice law there.

According to The Associated Press, the board will consider potential penalties for his conduct relating to the Armstrong matter.

In 2012, a jury found Shirvell had stalked, defamed and invaded Armstrong’s privacy and ordered him to pay Armstrong $4.5 million for distress and suffering resulting from Shirvell’s actions.  The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that judgment in February 2015.

The Attorney Discipline Board also found Shirvell committed misconduct by filing a frivolous lawsuit against Armstrong’s attorney, Deborah Gordon, reports The Detroit Free Press.

Shirvell argued that he was exercising his free speech rights when he spoke out against Armstrong.

But the court said that the First Amendment did not protect his actions because the state provided evidence that his conduct affected government services.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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