Judge Dismisses Free Speech Lawsuit Against Charlottesville

Posted: Updated:
Charlottesville City Council (FILE) Charlottesville City Council (FILE)
Joseph Draego speaking before City Council (Image courtesy Charlottesville) Joseph Draego speaking before City Council (Image courtesy Charlottesville)

The free speech lawsuit against the city of Charlottesville has been settled.

Joseph Draego filed the lawsuit, claiming the Charlottesville City Council denied his right to free speech during a public meeting on July 20.

Draego had already publicly spoken to councilors earlier in the meeting. He returned to the podium later, saying "the Muslims, monstrous maniacs that they are, read their holy book and then they go out and perpetrate these horrible crimes." His comments were in reference to gun control.

Mayor Mike Signer cut Draego's remarks short, citing council rule 9G prohibiting defamatory attacks on groups or individuals during the public comment period.

Draego’s filed his lawsuit on July 28. His lawyer then filed a motion on September 1, asking a federal judge to temporarily suspend Charlottesville City Council's ban on defamatory attacks on groups.

According to a court document filed on Wednesday, December 21, City Council's deletion of rule 9G resolved the case. The document also says councilors will not attempt to reinstate the rule at a later point.

An order entered in federal court says the case is dismissed.

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