[Posted by Justin Levine – not Patterico]
Anyone who engages in legal threats against people without any cause whatsoever is a contemptible scumbag in my book.
Proof regarding Stephen Jones is here.
Would Jones be pulling this crap against the NY Times? No. He tried his thug tactics because he figured it was a hapless blogger who would cave.
By the way Mr. Jones – the identity of one of the Congressional pages who was having cybersex with Congressman Mark Foley happens to be your client. So please plan your additional legal threats accordingly…
[Posted by Justin Levine]
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I hope Justin doesn’t get upset with me here, but I’m redacting the name. Let me be clear: I am not frightened by the prospect of Stephen Jones suing me. I just don’t want to be one of the sites publishing the former page’s name. Granted, it’s already so widely publicized that publishing it here won’t make a difference. But it’s just not something I want to do.
Is there a tiny legitimate point to be made about the person’s age? Sure, I suppose there might be. But the former page in question didn’t ask to have his identity exposed. I don’t see that he engaged in any contemptible behavior that should expose him to this. It was an inadvertent slip-up, not by the former page, but by ABC, that caused this. I don’t want to pile on.
I’m seeing Justin today, so if he thinks I’m wrong about this, he can let me have it in person.
As for Jones’s letter, it seems heavy-handed, but I don’t have strong feelings about it. [I have thought about it more. See UPDATE x3 below.]
UPDATE x2 BY PATTERICO: I don’t mean to imply that Justin has done anything wrong by publishing the guy’s name or saying that he is the one. It seems to me that the evidence is strong that it’s him, and the name is certainly “out there.” Justin published the name, not to make a point about Foley, but to make a point to Jones. I see his point and think it’s a legitimate one.
UPDATE x3 BY PATTERICO: On further reflection, I agree with Justin that the Jones letter is contemptible. Whatever you may think of the ethics of disclosing the former page’s name — and I have said I disagree with that action — I can’t think of any legal theory by which Jones could take legal action against the blogger in question. Jones’s letter is simple thuggery.
UPDATE x4 BY PATTERICO: I have figured out a way to tell Jones what I think about him without dragging the former page’s name into it. Instead of [redacted by Patterico] above, I have altered the bracketed phrase so it reads “your client” — so that the whole sentence reads:
By the way Mr. Jones – the identity of one of the Congressional pages who was having cybersex with Congressman Mark Foley happens to be your client.
I am completely comfortable with that. The guy in the IMs is your client, Mr. Jones. I say that without your permission or his, because I have a good faith basis to believe it’s true. You want to sue me, then bring it on, pal.