By Kimberly Morin
On Friday a Rockingham County Court Judge ruled in favor of Mike Gill and Aaron Day on a portion of the defamation lawsuit brought against them by businessmen Dick Anagnost, Andrew Crews and William Greiner. The suit was brought back in April due to signs placed on a Manchester billboard that accuse the men of either being drug dealers or extortionists.
Part of the lawsuit was to get an injunction against Gill and Day that would stop them from either posting the signs or speaking about the case or any of the men involved. Greiner’s lawsuit against Day is actually based on a Facebook comment. That’s right, a Facebook comment. Greiner has one of the biggest mouths in Bedford and regularly says nasty things about people he doesn’t like yet he is suing Day over a Facebook comment that Greiner will have to prove isn’t true.
This case will probably take years to actually get through but on Friday, the judge in the case ruled against the “gag order.” This means that neither Gill nor Day have to keep their mouths shut about the case or the men involved. And yes, Gill can continue with his signs if he so desires.
Here is part of the ruling from the judge:
Defendant Aaron Day has filed a written objection to the plaintiffs’ motion. The Court need not engage in a detailed analysis with regard to Day because the plaintiffs have failed to establish a pattern of conduct by Day that has any likelihood of prejudicing that outcome of these proceedings. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ motion to preclude Day from making statements is DENIED.
The plaintiffs apparently cited several cases in their argument to the judge to which he responded as well as using free speech when listing his reasons for denying the injunction on Gill as well:
There are less restrictive means of ensuring a fair trial than issuing a prior restraint on Gill’s speech. For these reasons, the motion to preclude is DENIED. SO ORDERED.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Anagnost, Crews and Greiner are not only public figures but they are very involved in politics as well, including getting help and even grant money from public officials like Maggie Hassan, Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen in the state for various projects. Since this is a defamation case, it will be up to them to disprove the evidence that Gill and Day bring forward supporting their claims about the men. According to Gill and Day, they indeed have that evidence.