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New York Attorney General Letitia James has dropped a lawsuit against a group of pro-life sidewalk counselors, including 10 church members, accused of harassing people at an abortion clinic.
In a dismissal agreement released Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the state agreed to dismiss its complaints against around a dozen sidewalk counselors in return for no counterclaims being filed. The state will have to pay the litigation costs of the lawsuit.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver, whose organization helped represent one of the sidewalk counselors, considered the dismissal a “great victory.”
“The New York attorney general’s lawsuit was politically motivated and patently frivolous. Our client, Scott Fitchett, did nothing wrong by exercising his First Amendment right to preach the gospel on a public sidewalk,” Staver said in a statement .
Fitchett is a pre-K teacher who spends his Saturdays sharing the Gospel throughout New York City, including outside Choices Women’s Medical Center of Jamaica, New York.
In 2017, then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a complaint against the sidewalk counselors, alleging that they were engaging in unlawful harassment of people at the Choices Women’s Medical Center of Jamaica, New York. In addition to Fitchett, Rev. Kenneth Griepp and 10 members of [email protected] Rock in Brooklyn were among the defendants. They were represented by the Thomas More Society.
The lawsuit claimed that since 2012, protesters have “subjected incoming patients to a barrage of unwanted physical contact, as well as verbal abuse, threats of harm, and lies about the clinic’s hours and its services.” The lawsuit further accused the defendants of “approaching patients to harangue them, sometimes pinning them against the clinic’s exterior wall or parking meters, and even forcing them into the street and oncoming traffic as they try to escape the protesters.”
“Some protesters go so far as to touch or grab at patients to get their attention and force printed anti-choice materials on them,” the lawsuit added.
Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Martin Cannon said in a statement that his clients are “peaceful, law-abiding Christians who care deeply for the innocent children in the womb […]
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