See below for audio of State Sen. Scott Surovell this morning on the Gene Rossi Show, discussing: 1) the ridiculous defamation lawsuit by Rep. Devin Nunes (R) against, among others, political consultant and former Clinton campaign staffer Adam Parkhomenko over satirical Twitter accounts such as “Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom; and 2) the current state of gun legislation and protests in Virginia.
First, on the Nunes lawsuit, Surovell explained that Nunes filed a lawsuit “against McClatchy Newspapers and then against two fictitious Twitter accounts…Devin Nunes’ Cow and…Devin Nunes’ Mom…he got angry about it…grew the Cow’s Twitter followers from 1,000 to half a million by complaining about it,” then sued for “hundreds of millions of dollars for emotional distress.” Why Nunes filed the suit in Virginia is because we “don’t have any good SLAPP laws…to shut down a frivolous lawsuit easily and…sent a subpoena to Adam Parkhomenko [who Surovell represents].” According to Surovell, “we filed a motion to quash the subpoena on the grounds that it’s a totally baseless lawsuit, that everybody knows the Twitter account was a parody and a farce…We cited the Supreme Court of Virginia case where they said if somebody calls somebody the Director of Buttlicking, it’s clearly parody and not defamation, because nobody would ever believe that somebody is the Director of Buttlicking.” Currently, the subpoena’s just “hanging out there” and “the motion to quash is pending,” because “they never asked for a hearing.” So…it’s kinda funny on one level, but also demonstrates the need for Virginia to pass *much* stronger SLAPP laws against bulls*** like this.
Second, on Virginia gun legislation and protests, Sen. Surovell explained that the State Senate passed four bills: 1) “one handgun a month,” which had been previously on the books from 1990 to 2011, and “we reinstated that law”; 2) “universal background checks…we took the transfers out of the bill in the Senate”; 3) “local authority…allow local governments to regulate firearms in whatever they choose to regulate them in public buildings, at public parks and at locally permitted events”; 4) “the other bill that’s pending…is the red-flag law.”
On what’s coming up Monday, Sen. Surovell said it’s going to be a “really big big big rally…we’re not sure if it’s going to be 5,000 people coming or 10/15/20,000…a large number of firearms rights protestors coming to make noise about what we’re doing in Richmond…[Gov. Northam] has declared a state of emergency so that he can prohibit firearms from being on Capitol grounds…there’s a lot of law enforcement that’s going to be present, and everybody’s sort of waiting to see what happens in this protest.” Gene Rossi pointed out that previous protests had been peaceful, to which Sen. Surovell responded, “at the General Assembly they have been,” but cited “what happened in Charlottesville” and “some white nationalist organizations that are talking about coming” so “they’re not taking any chances this time.” Sen. Surovell also noted that “every year, there’s usually about 20 or 30 members of the VCDL who come into my office; they’re all very respectful…very measured in their tone…nobody’s ever brandished a gun at me or…threatened me; they politely tell me their point of view…we’ve never had problems with them.”