Mike Stark's Resistance Media Legal Costs

[UPDATE] You won't believe what's going on in Mike's Las Vegas trial. Police and prosecutors have "lost" four videos related to his arrest for disturbing the peace and "assaulting" a GOP campaign staffer. The security camera videos from the Community Center? Gone. Two separate police body camera videos? Disappeared. The patrol car footage? Also missing. Each of these videos provide critical evidence that would prove Mike's innocence. (Of course, on the other hand, if you're the prosecutor and you have a guilty suspect, how in the world do you "lose" these videos?) Read more (and see Mike's video evidence) here. 

Mike Stark has been a fearless progressive warrior for almost two decades. And I don't use the term "warrior" lightly; Mike, a former Marine, has endeavored to go where few of us dare: into the belly of the Republican beast, where the crazy runs thickest. 

Mike's journalism began in 2006, when racist Virginia Senator George Allen was considered by many to be the likely successor to George Bush as the next Republican nominee for President. Alas, he had to make it through his Senate race first, and to do that, he'd have to make it past Mike Stark. You all probably remember the "Macaca incident", but what you may not know is that the media utterly refused to ask then-Senator Allen what other racial slurs he might have used. And given that one had particular relevance in Virginia history, Mike took it upon himself to ask. 

Stark: "Given what's been in the news, I think some of us at the law school have some other questions on our  mind: Have you ever used the word n******?"

Allen: "Oh. Listen..."

Stark: "Have you?"

Allen: "No."

Stark: "You never have in your life?"

Allen: "No"

Stark: "Well, can you explain the Confederate Flag and the noose you keep in your office?"

See what we mean by "fearless"? Yes, Mike really did that.

With that, Mike's career in advocacy journalism was launched. Since then, he's continued to do the work most are scared to do: show up at conservative events where he is seen as the enemy, and capture right-wingers on film so the public can learn the truth about their extreme and abhorrent views.

Where the mainstream media presents an airbrushed view of conservatives and right-wingers, utterly unwilling to be honest with Americans about what the Republican Party truly has become, Mike has mad it his mission to show Americans the crazy in all its vivid hues. 

Remember birtherism? Of course you do. What you may not know is that birtherism became a national story largely because of Mike's work exposing Republican birthers in Congress.

Mike was also the first reporter to put Republicans  on the record about family separations . And when was the last time you saw a mainstream reporter hold a Republican accountable the way Mike did with Ron DeSantis and Marsha Blackburn for their vapid and empty responses to the Parkland shooting ? 

Of course, when you are as effective as Mike has been, GOP liars and thugs don't take it well, or lying down. If Donald Trump and his conservative minions think the mainstream press is the "enemy of the people," you can just imagine what they think of Mike Stark. We've all seen the haatred and violence directed at the media at Trump rallies. And let's not forget Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte who body-slammed a reporter, claimed he was attacked, and only admitted the truth when other witnesses came forward.

That should give you an idea of what happens when Mike braves his way into Republican events to ask GOP candidates and elected officials the difficult questions nobody else has the courage to pursue.

And that's why this GoFundMe page exists. Over the last year, on three separate occasions, Mike has been assaulted by Republicans, arrested under false charges, and thrown in jail three times... Just for doing his job.

Yes, Mike was beaten and thrown in jail, simply for reporting on Republicans. You cannot get much more un-American than that, but that's where we are.

Mike has seen our country's future if we don't fight back, and that kind of future is dark indeed. 

So far, Mike has been to trial and proven his innocence twice. He faces a third trial in Las Vegas next month. (see the link at the top of the page to see how far the GOP will go to finally convict Mike - police and prosecutorial misconduct in this case is a must-read).

The beatings, arrests, jail time and trials come at a cost. Sure, Mike's employer picked up most of his legal fees for the first two trials, but there was still more than $5,000 Mike had to personally absorb. And unfortunately, Mike lost his job after the third arrest, and is on his own for the cost of that defense. In all, just for the criminal defense attorneys, Mike is personally on the hook for almost $10,000.

But here's the thing.

Mike has found a new way to fight back against the dishonest right-wing smear machine that time and again had him falsely arrested and smeared in the press. Instead of tucking his tail between his legs and giving up, Mike has filed a lawsuit against the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Ed Gillespie, Adam Laxalt, and seventeen other named operatives and organizations that conspired to make it impossible for Mike to continue doing his important work. But this civil lawsuit won't be free either: Mike's lawyers tell him he should raise at least $90,000 to see the case through.

That's our challenge. 

Have you ever wondered what lurks within the email boxes of right-wing operatives? Of right-wing media smear artists? Of the committees responsible for smearing good Democrats to dishonestly win elections?

Mike's lawsuit has a real chance of revealing all of that and more.

Please, if you care about democracy, the rule of law, and really a free press, support Mike for what he has done, for what he will do, and for the fight Mike now has on his hands: protecting his reputation and exposing the right-wing smear machine.

Please donate to this GoFundMe so Mike isn't destroyed for simply trying to get us the truth. Support Mike, for what he is aiming to learn in discovery about various Republican organizations. Support him so his two wonderful kids, Antigone & Aaron, aren't made to suffer for the sins of today's ultra-right-wing Republican Party, and so your kids can grow up in a country where freedom of the press is still a right.

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Mike Stark 
Falls Church, VA
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