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Former Michigan AG Found Guilty of Stalking Gay Man

In August 2012, a federal jury in Detroit found Andrew Shirvell, a homophobic former Michigan assistant attorney general, guilty of stalking, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy, in a civil suit brought by Chris Armstrong, the University of Michigan’s first openly gay student body president.

Armstrong’s suit, filed in May 2011, sought damages as well as injunctive relief. The jury awarded Armstrong damages totaling $4.5 million.

Shirvell had been fired from his position in the Attorney General’s Office in 2010, after he had “repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources” to target Armstrong, both online and in person, according to State Attorney General Mike Cox, who noted that Shirvell had also lied about his actions to investigators.

Shirvell, himself a University of Michigan alumnus, remained defiant and unrepentant after the jury’s verdict, telling CNN that the jury award was “grossly excessive” and “absolutely outrageous.” He characterized the verdict, which he predicted would be overturned on appeal, as “a complete trampling” of his First Amendment rights.

When the judgment was rendered against him, Shirvell was unemployed and no longer residing in Michigan. Sources: Tom Watkins, CNN, Aug 18, 2012; Armstrong v. Shirvell, Case No: 2:11-cv-11921-AJT-PJK (filed 5/2/11), U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division; Verdict Form (filed 8/16/12). 

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Related legal case

Armstrong v. Shirvell