by Mass Resistance (excerpted from the Montana Daily Gazette)
Jordan Hall, Baptist pastor and publisher of popular conservative news site, sued for libel by transgender lobbyist
State’s left-wing legal establishment & well-funded LGBT “lawfare” mob seek to stop site’s influential voice
Far-left Judge to hold preliminary hearing Feb. 16 to determine whether pastor is a “dangerous person"
Pastor Jordan Hall with his wife and five children.
A conservative pastor who is the publisher of Montana’s largest and
most influential conservative news site is being sued for “libel” by a
bizarre transgender lobbyist. The leftist judge assigned to the case is
also threatening the pastor with fines and a gag order even before the
trial takes place.
This assault on free speech and free press is buttressed by the
state’s far-left legal establishment and appears to be funded by the
wealthy LGBT and Planned Parenthood lobby. The aggressive legal action,
including an invasive “discovery” process of the pastor’s media
operation, is clearly aimed to put the conservative news site and its
subsidiary voices out of business. The radicals would even like to
dictate what the pastor may say in his own church.
Montana Democrats are still reeling from the Republican blowout victory in the 2020 election.
Republicans now have a super-majority in both houses of the
Legislature, and hold the Governorship and all statewide offices
(Attorney General, Secretary of State, Supervisor of Public Instruction,
Paradoxically, the judiciary in Montana is dominated by leftists. The
state’s only law school is at the very liberal University of Montana
and the state’s lawyers – and thus the judges – are far more left-wing
than the general population.
Just as in DC back in 2016, the Democrats’ response to the Republican
sweep has been to lash out wildly. Leftist attorneys are using the
liberal courts in Montana to challenge conservative bills passed in the
2021 legislative session (pro-life laws, the ban on transgender boys in girls’ sports, strengthening parents’ rights, reining in sex ed, strengthening election law, and banning discrimination on the basis of vaccination status). They are also contesting Attorney General Knudsen’s and Supervisor of Public Instruction Arntzen’s policies banning Critical Race Theory and declaring masks optional in schools.One news site stands out
As in other conservative areas, the news media across the state is also horribly left-wing. The one prominent exception is the Montana Daily Gazette, published by Jordan (“JD”) Hall, who is also a Baptist minister. The Gazette
is bold and straight-shooting, with a down-to-earth style – and is
definitely not “PC.” It has caught the attention of Montanans tired of
the other news outlets. On many days, the Gazette often claims
the highest readership of any news source in Montana. Some say its
fearless reporting contributed to the Republican sweep in the 2020
Bizarre transgender lobbyist in the Montana Capitol
Hall is also very influential in Montana through his other conservative Christian media. He runs the well-respected religious blog Protestia, the podcast Pulpit & Pen, and a radio station. He shares Christian truth without reservation.
While many conservatives are becoming reluctant to speak out publicly
on hot-button issues, Pastor Hall is fearless – and has definitely
become a thorn in the side of the Left in Montana.
Adrian Jawort identifies as “transgender” and is a member of the
Northern Cheyenne tribe. He is also a registered lobbyist in the Montana
legislature. He is quite a sight in that building. As his own attorneys
Adrian is physically distinctive: Native
American, transgender, 6’3” in heels, always dressed in black dresses
and hosiery, her [sic] black hair trimmed short on the sides with curls
falling down her [sic] forehead.
Mr. Jawort dressed for his pro-transgender
lobbying at the Montana Capitol in 2021. He was especially angry over
the bill to outlaw “transgender” surgical procedures for minors and the
bill (now law) to ban transgender boys from girls’ sports. (Photo from
Hall’s May 3, 2021 Gazette column)
Photo in Hall’s report: Jawort (2nd from left) and friends in the Montana Supreme Court chambers.
Legislators were familiar with Jawort’s “torrent of obscene, angry
social media posts that he published throughout the 2021 legislative
session” (according to a court filing by Hall). Luckily, Hall took
screen shots of some of those posts before Jawort deleted them.
We have been told that at first many legislators did not know Jawort
was a lobbyist, but assumed he was a homeless man wandering around the
building. Not surprisingly, “numerous legislators” had contacted Hall
with concerns about Jawort’s lobbying style.
On April 22, 2021, one of the most controversial transgender bills of
the legislative session, HB 112 (the bill barring transgender male
students from participating on female sports teams), was scheduled for a
vote on the Senate floor. Six or seven transgender activists, including
Jawort, converged on the Montana Capitol that day to try to halt its
passage. According to a court filing, Jawort made clear earlier in the
day that he would vigorously lobby Senators to vote against HB 112.
Some people later contacted Hall to report that Jawort and his
cohorts, wearing Covid masks and makeup, encountered legislators in the
Capitol hallways. Allegedly, there was some abusive language directed
at the legislators, and one of them, an elderly Senator, had to be
escorted away to avoid the disturbance.
Before publishing his report on the event, Jordan Hall contacted
Jawort asking to get his side of the story. But Jawort refused to talk
On May 3, 2021, the Montana Daily Gazette published Hall’s article, Who’s the Gothic Transvestite Haunting the Halls of the Montana Capitol? It did not hold back in its general description of Jawort, culled from the numerous phone calls Hall had received:
Fooling precisely no one, the man has been seen
wandering the Montana State Capitol like an out-of-place Sasquatch in
goth make-up, looking for a snack or someone to yell at. The
ill-tempered, dress-wearing man was regularly seen in the gallery of
both the House and Senate, chastising legislators with his wagging,
giant man fingers, and sitting in fish-net stockings reapplying his
make-up with all the precision of a birthday clown with a bad hangover.
The article also included these two profane quotes from Jawort’s social media posts:
Fascist f***s. Tomorrow I will file paperwork
likely leading to a lawsuit challenging one of the many anti-trans
bills. My reward will be seeing my name dragged through the mud. Being
mocked by good Christians and doxxed…
Fight the power of the State of Montana. F*** your #Montaliban theocracy.
I am not a political pawn in a chess game–someone to be used for
‘culture war’ clout and fodder. I am a f***ing Indigenous Queen of these
Indian Lands.Regarding the confrontation with legislators,
article simply had two sentences:
Reportedly, the angry transvestite and several of
his associates had cornered Senator Butch Gillespie in an angry tirade.
Also reportedly, Montana Family Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy
escorted Sen. Gillespie to the Sergeant of Arms for his protection.
Those two sentences are now at the center of the huge lawsuit. They would seem rather innocuous, especially given the larger context.Jawort ignites over the article – files failed lawsuit
On July 12, 2021, Jawort filed a complaint against Hall in Richland
County Court (where Hall’s hometown of Sidney is located). He demanded
monetary damages for Hall’s “transphobic” statements and for supposedly
“doxing” him (though Hall had included only publicly available
information from Jawort’s public Facebook or tweets).
But there is no such crime as “transphobia” in Montana law (or US
law), and the case went nowhere. Nevertheless, Jawort set up a GoFundMe page for his attempted lawsuit charging “transphobic hate speech.”
Partial screen shot of Jawort’s GoFundMe page (accessed 2-13-22)
A new lawsuit – alleging libel
Soon after that, Jawort connected with a group of well-heeled leftist
attorneys willing to take on his case. He is now being represented by
Attorney Raph Graybill and two attorneys at the Upper Seven Law
firm, Constance Van Kley and Rylee Sommers-Flanagan. Graybill is a
well-known Montana attorney who recently ran for state Attorney General
(losing 59%-41%). The Upper Seven Law firm is a social-justice group
apparently set up for cases like this. All three attorneys clerked at
the left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The attorneys re-filed the case and changed the charge to libel. They are focusing only on the two sentences cited above: "Reportedly,
the angry transvestite and several of his associates had cornered
Senator Butch Gillespie in an angry tirade. Also reportedly, Montana
Family Foundation President Jeff Laszloffy escorted Sen. Gillespie to
the Sergeant of Arms for his protection."
They are claiming that Jawort was not present at that confrontation –
not part of the group that accosted the legislators – so these are
false, libelous statements. They assert that since the group was wearing
masks, it was only assumed that Jawort was one of them. They are
seeking $250,000 in damages from Hall.
The claim of libel would not appear to hold much water: (1) Hall’s
article said only that Jawort was “reportedly” part of the group. That
is not a false statement. (2) Despite a mask, Jawort is a very
recognizable figure – a 6’3” man wearing a black dress with a
distinctive voice. (3) Hall attempted to get Jawort’s side of the story,
but Jawort refused. (4) By any sensible legal definition, Jawort is a
“limited public figure” which in Montana requires a high standard for
libel. (5) Hall relied on credible sources who identified Jawort as the
individual who accosted the Senator, and as a credentialed journalist he
does not have to reveal these sources.
The arguments put forth in Jawort’s lawyers’ filings appear to be
very weak and amateurish, though strongly worded. Thus, in a normal
court this would [NOT] get very far. But this isn’t a normal situation at all.
Through a series of events, Jawort’s lawyers were able to get the
case heard in a different county under a judge, Elizabeth Best, who is
arguably the most ruthlessly left-wing in the state. She is notorious
among Montanans for her leftist judicial activism (A Change.org petition has 2,325 signatures calling for her removal from the bench.)
Judge Elizabeth Best [Great Falls Tribune photo]
Judicial bias and enormous legal harassment
Judge Best has not hidden her disdain for Pastor Hall. In one court
ruling, she characterized his article as using “an offensive and
ignorant epithet used by transphobic people, obviously aimed at
demeaning Jawort.” Thus, the judge is accusing him of ignorance and
“transphobia” – and even before the trial, exposes her belief that Hall intended to demean (libel) Jawort.
She has ruled that Jawort is not a “limited public figure,” and that
the confrontation incident had no connection to Jawort’s work as a
lobbyist. This means that the plaintiff does not have to prove “malice,” just “negligence” on Hall’s part.
Judge Best has allowed Jawort’s lawyers to conduct an enormous amount
of legal harassment against Hall, mostly in form of incredibly
aggressive “discovery” demands, almost on a daily basis. Jawort’s
lawyers are demanding records and other information on virtually
everything about the Montana Daily Gazette business, plus
extensive information about everyone who works there. He’s being told to
provide his text messages and emails going back years on every person
he’s contacted. He must provide copies of every sermon he has given,
every manuscript he has written, and even his sermon and public speaking
notes. Objections to this by Hall’s lawyer have been overruled by Judge
Best. (Moreover, it is well known that Best is close friends with
Graybill, Jawort's lawyer.)
It's been estimated that Jawort's legal team has already spent over $150,000 on this case - and the trial hasn't even begun.
Christian verses certainly anger
this fellow. The Satanic horns, inverted cross on his forehead, and
blood dripping from his mouth indicate where he’s coming from. (Photo: Jawort’s public Facebook page
Special hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 16 to determine if Hall is a “threat” to public order
Pastor Hall’s actual trial hasn’t been scheduled. But Judge Best is
conducting a special hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to determine if Hall
is a “threat” to public order.
Over the past few months, Hall has traveled around the state giving
speeches in order to raise money for his legal defense. His lawyer says
he will need a minimum of $100,000. (He has raised a little about
$45,000 so far.) His speeches are mostly to Christian groups. Being a
Baptist pastor, Hall uses a lot of Bible quotes and Christian imagery.
Jawort’s lawyers are charging – and Judge Best seems to be agreeing –
that these speeches somehow constitute “threats” to the plaintiff, the
judge, and others. (Of course, Hall has no history whatsoever of threats
or violence.) The judge is prepared to impose extreme sanctions on Hall
Pastor Hall at a rally at the Montana Capitol in Helena. (Photo: Brandi Lyon)
Best is also angry that Hall is reluctant to follow her “mask
mandate” in the courtroom. Montana has no mask mandates whatsoever at
this time, and it is very questionable whether Best has the authority
to impose one.
According to information we have, Best has likely decided to impose
both judicial and financial sanctions at the hearing on Wednesday. The
judicial sanctions could include a gag order or other limitations. The
financial sanctions could be a fine anywhere from tens of thousands to
hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's also likely she could declare a default judgment against him, so a trial would not even be held.
This is the frightening state of affairs in the supposedly “red”
state of Montana. We will report on what happens at the hearing.
Throughout all this, the thing that has saddened Pastor Hall the
most, he told us, is the number of conservative Christian pastors who
have shied away from publicly supporting him. It’s not that they think
he’s wrong. They privately admit that they are “afraid” of the LGBT
movement and the power of the state. As one pastor told him, “I just
can’t have them picketing my church.”
God Bless Jordan Hall. We need a thousand more like him. You can donate to his legal defense fund here.
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