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Acquitted blogger files $50 million suit

Dec. 4, 2012 at 7:16 PM

HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A New Jersey blogger, acquitted of charges he threatened and incited violence against three Connecticut officials, has filed a lawsuit seeking $50 million.

Harold C. Turner filed his lawsuit Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., alleging he was falsely arrested, wrongfully imprisoned, subjected to unlawful prior restraint of speech, and maliciously prosecuted, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Monday.

The 50-year-old North Bergen man's suit names eight people as defendants, including Connecticut Capitol Police officers, state prosecutors and former lawmakers, as well as the state, The (Bergen County) Record reported last week

In 2009, Turner was arrested on charges of threatening and inciting violence against Michael Lawlor, a former state representative who is now under-secretary for criminal justice policy and planning in the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Andrew McDonald, a former state senator now Gov. Dan Malloy's general counsel, and Thomas K. Jones of the office of state ethics, over a blog post in which he called on Catholics to "take up arms and put down this tyranny by force."

The blog post was sparked by a bill, introduced by a legislative judiciary committee, that would have given lay church members more say in the financial matters of the Roman Catholic Church.

In his blog, Turner said he would release the home addresses of Lawlor, McDonald and Jones on a radio program he hosted. He was arrested before he aired them.

Turner was ultimately acquitted of the charges against him and has now sued Lawlor, McDonald and Jones; as well as Timothy Boyle, a Capitol police officer; the late Michael J. Fallon, who was chief of the Capitol Police when Turner was charged; retired state prosecutor Dennis O'Connor; Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Garcia, who prosecuted Turner; David Bednarz, the governor's deputy press secretary; and the state of Connecticut for his arrest and prosecution.

Most of those named as defendants declined to comment on the lawsuit, but Perry Zinn-Rowthorn, associate attorney general for litigation, said: "We will review the complaint and respond at the appropriate time and in the appropriate fashion."

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