Judge in Montana orders arrest of neo-Nazi website founder

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the arrest of a neo-Nazi website publisher accused of ignoring a $14 million judgment against him for orchestrating an anti-Semitic harassment campaign against a Montana woman’s family.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Andrew Anglin, founder and operator of The Daily Stormer website.

Attorneys for Montana real estate agent Tanya Gersh have said Anglin did not pay any portion of the August 2019 judgment and has ignored their requests for information about his whereabouts, his operation of the website and other assets.

Gersh says anonymous internet trolls bombarded her family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin published their personal information, including a photo of her young son. In a string of posts, Anglin accused Gersh and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, of engaging in an “extortion racket” against the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer.

Gersh’s April 2017 lawsuit accused Anglin of invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the Montana Anti-Intimidation Act. An attorney for Gersh did not immediately respond to a telephone message seeking comment Wednesday.

Judge Christensen ordered Anglin to pay over $4 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages to Gersh, who is represented by lawyers from the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. The court entered the default judgment against Anglin after he failed to appear for a scheduled deposition by Gersh’s attorneys.

Anglin, a native of Ohio, has claimed to be living outside the U.S. But his current whereabouts are unknown and he did not immediately respond to an email sent to an address posted on his website.

Other targets of Anglin’s online harassment campaigns also secured default judgments against him after he failed to respond to their respective lawsuits.

In June 2019, a federal judge in Ohio awarded $4.1 million in damages to Muslim American radio host Dean Obeidallah, who sued Anglin for falsely accusing him of terrorism. Obeidallah said he received death threats after Anglin published an article that tricked readers into believing he took responsibility for the May 2017 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert.

In August 2019, a federal judge in Washington entered another default judgment against Anglin and awarded just over $600,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to the first Black woman to serve as American University’s student government president. Taylor Dumpson’s lawsuit said Anglin directed his readers to “troll storm” her after someone hung bananas with hateful messages from nooses on the university’s campus a day after her inauguration as student government president.

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