Founder of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer should pay $14 million to victim of 'troll storm,' judge says

The founder and editor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer should be ordered to pay more than $14 million to a Montana real estate agent against whom he organized an anti-Semitic “troll storm,” a federal magistrate judge found on Monday.

The judgment was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana, against Andrew Anglin, who encouraged the online intimidation campaign against Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent in the Montana resort town of Whitefish, her husband and their 12-year-old son.

In an opinion that must still be approved by U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, the magistrate judge, Jeremiah C. Lynch, recommended a default judgment against Anglin, who failed to appear for a deposition in April.

But Lynch went further than finding for Gersh on procedural grounds: He recommended that Christensen order Anglin, who is in his mid-30s, to pay $4,042,438 in compensatory damages and $10 million, the maximum under state law, in punitive damages for “the particularly egregious and reprehensible nature of Anglin’s conduct.”

Noting that “the atrocious conduct directed at Gersh and her family has not entirely abated,” Lynch also recommended a permanent injunction ordering Anglin to remove any materials related to Gersh and her family from The Daily Stormer. As of Monday night, the materials hadn’t been removed.

In 2016, under Anglin’s byline, The Daily Stormer, which is considered extreme even by other white nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations, issued a call for “an old-fashioned Troll Storm” against the Gershes. The site alleged that Gersh had led a campaign of harassment against the mother of Richard Spencer, the white supremacist leader who coined the term “alt-right,” who was a resident of Whitefish.

Spencer, an admirer of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, was widely denounced for urging his supporters to “party like it’s 1933” — the year Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany —after the election of President Donald Trump in November 2016. He later was a featured speaker at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a civil rights activist was killed and 19 other people were injured in August 2017.

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