Defenders: Free speech protects alleged Marine impostor
DENVER – A civil rights group says the alleged lies of a man accused of posing as a Marine combat veteran are protected by the First Amendment because there’s no proof he did any harm.
Rick Strandlof is charged with falsely claiming he got military medals, a violation of the federal Stolen Valor Act.
The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil liberties group, filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday saying that because there was no harm to the medals or to any real recipients, Strandlof’s statements are protected speech.
Strandlof has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Robert Pepin, has asked a judge to dismiss the charges.
He used the name Rick Duncan when he founded a group that publicized the plight of homeless veterans.
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com
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