Unmasked Baptist Blogger’s Lawsuit (Mostly) Moves Ahead

Judge: Claims against Fla. state attorney dismissed, but assistant state attorney isn't immune.

Mac Brunson and the leaders of First Baptist Church Jacksonville didn't much care for FBC Jax Watchdog, one of many Baptist watchblogs.

No surprise there: Brunson was a frequent target of the anonymous blogger's critiques. The surprise is that the church asked one of its members, a police officer (who is also a Brunson bodyguard) to find out who the blogger was. The officer got assistant state attorney Stephen Siegel to subpoena records from Comcast and Google to unmask the blogger as longtime church member Tom Rich—whereupon the church leadership immediately barred Rich and his wife from ever coming near the sanctuary again.

The inevitable lawsuits followed, and on March 31 United States District Judge Marcia Morales Howard denied Siegel's efforts to claim immunity. "The limited record before the court does not support a finding that Siegel had any legitimate law enforcement interest in issuing the investigatory subpoenas," Howard said. In addition, she said, Siegel's reported actions "appear ...

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