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Judge releases activist, orders him to take down Web site pages

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  1. Prior Restraint

    NMU         WASHINGTON         Prior Restraints         Jun 17, 2002    

Judge releases activist, orders him to take down Web site pages

  • Self-proclaimed journalist Paul Trummel was released from jail today, although he faces more jail time if he does not comply with court orders by June 24.

After 116 days in jail, 70-year-old Paul Trummel was released today on the condition that he remove all previously barred content from his Web site.

Trummel has refused this request by Seattle Superior Court Judge James Doerty on multiple occasions — it is what landed him in jail originally in February. He has five days to comply.

Trummel was jailed indefinitely on Feb. 27 for violating an antiharassment order by continuing to post material that Doerty had ruled constituted harassment. Trummel stalked and abused his neighbors and administrators at Council House, a low-income retirement home in Seattle, the court found.

Transferred to solitary confinement on May 23 for what appears to be an abuse of phone privileges, Trummel has been unable to alter or remove Web content from his cell in King County Jail and has refused to appoint someone to do so.

Supporters argue that Trummel was not given proper counsel before being jailed and denied phone privileges. His attorney, Robert Siegel, thinks Doerty granted this temporary release to allow Trummel to meet with legal advisors.

Trummel claims he enjoys a privilege to publish the material as a journalist. The 15-year U.S. resident says he is a former college professor and international reporter. But a current dispute is raging over whether he published his printed and online newsletter about the apartment building’s alleged abuses as a journalist or whether he “terrorized” the community.

At the brief court appearance today, Doerty read a prepared statement, which Siegel called “further berating” to Trummel. A hearing is scheduled for June 21 to review Trummel’s compliance. Siegel and Trummel are expected to bring up complaints against Doerty.

(Trummel v. Mitchell) CL

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