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Legal Fees to Protect Michael's Free Speech

$21,299 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 387 people in 5 months
Hi, my name is Michael Bueckert and I am a PhD student at Carleton University in Ottawa. In my spare time I also write about politics, including about far-right and alt-right movements.

I'm being sued for defamation for $150,000 by an executive of the "uOttawa Students for Free Speech" for suggesting in a blog  that he may hold alt-right ideological views due to his association with Gavin McInnes (former leader of the alt-right gang Proud Boys) and other extremist figures. 

The individual suing me has publicly claimed to be one of the only students in the province to be consulted by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on sweeping changes to student fees (a policy which will have the effect of defunding most campus activities). This issue of public policy was the focus of the blog in question.

This lawsuit is a clear intimidation attempt, designed to silence myself and anyone else who criticizes his actions. It is a clear example of an attack on free speech. It is also an attempt to evade responsibility for his own free association and promotion of extremist figures.

I'm just a student trying to finish my dissertation, with a nominal income from being a teaching assistant and dwindling scholarships. I simply do not have the means the fight this lawsuit on my own. I would be incredibly grateful for any financial assistance that you can offer to pay for my (excellent) lawyer and the costs of going to court, which are likely to be incredibly expensive.

Thank you so much for your support.

In solidarity,

Michael Bueckert


P.S. Here are the relevant legal documents: 

Cease and desist (February 19, 2019)

My response to "cease and desist" (February 22, 2019)

Lawsuit (February 27, 2019)

Statement of Defence (April 1, 2019)

Di Franco's response to "Statement of Defence" (April 8, 2019)

My Affidavit (May 17, 2019)

Di Franco's affidavit (July 30, 2019)
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Hi everyone, just a couple of quick updates.

1) The process of my anti-SLAPP motion to dismiss the lawsuit is going along slowly, and I have a tentative court date for mid-December. I've spent about $15,000 in legal fees to date, and will update the fundraising target if necessary.

2) Yesterday I received a response affidavit from Di Franco. I posted a link to the bottom of my campaign page, where you can check it out if you are interested.

Finally, I thought I would share a couple of articles that have been written about my case. They include some great discussions on the relationship between campus "free speech" groups and the far-right / alt-right in Ontario and BC.

In Ricochet: "Ottawa defamation lawsuit latest flashpoint in campus ‘free speech’ battles" https://ricochet.media/en/2562/ottawa-defamation-lawsuit-latest-flashpoint-in-campus-free-speech-battles

In the Ubyssey: "A splintered movement: How the far-right found a foothold on campus" https://www.ubyssey.ca/features/a-splintered-movement-far-right-on-campus/

Thanks again for you ongoing support,

Michael
+ Read More
Quick update: Today I filed a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit against me, arguing that it amounts to a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), intended to censor, intimidate, and silence criticism of matters of a public interest.

I also posted my Affidavit, which you can find via a link on my GoFundMe campaign page.

In solidarity,
Michael
+ Read More
Two updates:

First, I'm very pleased to announce that we just passed our fundraising goal of $20,000.00. I'm not exactly sure how this is possible, but I am humbled by your support.

Second, today I filed my Statement of Defence. You can find a link at the bottom of my campaign page (story).

I'll continue to keep you updated as the case progresses. Thanks again to everyone again for your ongoing support.

In solidarity,
Michael
+ Read More
To everyone who has supported me so far: thank you so much! Incredibly, we've raised $14,134 of the initial $15,000 goal, in under 5 days.

Honestly, I'm overwhelmed. I would love to thank you all individually, but with almost 300 donors it is simply impossible at this time.

I've increased the target to $20,000. This is based on the initial estimates from my lawyer, but nobody knows exactly how much it will cost to defeat this lawsuit.

Again, I can't thank you all enough. It means so much to know that you all have my back.

In solidarity,
Michael
+ Read More
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$21,299 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 387 people in 5 months
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