COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal judge will hear arguments Wednesday for the amount of monetary damages a Muslim-American radio host can recover against a neo-Nazi website operator who falsely accused him of terrorism.
SiriusXM Radio show host Dean Obeidallah (oh-bee-DAHL'-ah) is seeking more than $1 million in damages against The Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin, who hasn't responded to Obeidallah's libel lawsuit. Anglin's whereabouts are unclear.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Edmund Sargus Jr. agreed to enter a default judgment against Anglin and his company, Moonbase Holdings LLC. Sargus scheduled Wednesday's hearing to determine the proper amount of damages and fees.
Among those who could testify Wednesday is Andrew Anglin's father, Greg Anglin. Obeidallah's attorneys, who were allowed to subpoena Greg Anglin, have said he previously testified that he helped his son collect and deposit between $100,000 and $150,000 in readers' mailed donations over a five-year period.
Obeidallah, a comedian and Daily Beast columnist, says Anglin falsely labeled him as the "mastermind" behind a deadly bombing at a concert in England. Obeidallah said he received death threats after Anglin published an article about him in June 2017. His lawsuit alleged that the site embedded fabricated messages in the post to make them seem like they had been sent from Obeidallah's Twitter account, tricking readers into believing he took responsibility for the May 2017 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Obeidallah is seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages from Anglin and his company. Obeidallah said Anglin libeled him, invaded his privacy, and intentionally inflicted "emotional distress."
Anglin's current whereabouts are a mystery. The Ohio native says he has lived abroad for years and claims it would be too dangerous for him to travel to the U.S. because he gets credible death threats.
Anglin's site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda. The site includes sections called "Jewish Problem" and "Race War." For months, the site struggled to stay online after Anglin published a post mocking the woman who was killed when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
Anglin now faces possible default judgments in four federal cases, including separate lawsuits filed by two other targets of his site's online harassment campaigns.