I am no stranger to defamation lawsuits for writings on a blog. I have been threatened multiple times for writing my opinions and the facts as I know them about various companies. I have even been wrongly sued, with a judge dismissing me from the case, but not until after substantial legal fees were incurred to defend my good name.
So when it comes to allegations of defamation launched against bloggers, I take the matters seriously. Crystal Cox bills herself as an “investigative journalist,” but has done a whole lot of things that don’t have anything to do with investigation or journalism.
You see, the story starts with Attorney Kevin D. Padrick, one of the founders of Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Mr. Padrick was appointed as trustee in the bankruptcy case of Summit Accommodators Inc., a company that he eventually reported was a Ponzi scheme. He further reported that executives at Umpqua Bank knew what Summit was doing, but didn’t do anything to stop it.
Three principals of Summit Accommodators, Mark Neuman, Timothy Larkin, and Lane Lyons, were eventually indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, misusing over $44 million of customer money. Brian Stevens, co-founder of Summit with Neuman, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud and conspiring to launder money. I can only assume that these criminal charges were brought in large part thanks to the good work of Kevin Padrick.
Martindale Hubbell AV Rated attorney Kevin Padrick is one of the good guys, right? Not in the eyes of Crystal Cox, so-called investigative blogger.
At some point Crystal Cox decided Kevin D. Patrick was one of the bad guys. And with that, she launched an internet campaign against him, accusing him of corruption, fraud, tax fraud, stealing money, money laundering, and more. She bought domain names featuring the names of Kevin and Obsidian, posting rants and cross-linking between multiple sites to move her rants up in search engine rankings. Crystal Cox essentially decimated Padrick in front of anyone who might Google his name. This had its intended effect: Padrick’s business suffered. Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance sued Crystal Cox for defamation, alleging damage to his reputation and earnings.
It gets even better. Crystal Cox then attempted to extort Kevin D. Padrick and Obsidian Finance by offering to provide services to “protect online reputations” for a fee of $2,500 per month. Translation: “Pay me to take down the defamatory material.”
The clear problem here is that I can’t find any proof behind Cox’s allegations against Padrick. But that doesn’t help Kevin D. Padrick when it comes to Google. The postings by Cox appear prominently, and her repeated allegations on multiple URLs might make it appear to an outsider that there is really a story here. What user of the internet is going to take the time to slog through Crystal’s many websites and incoherent rants to come to the conclusion that the sites were all created by the same person, who never proved any bad acts by Padrick? Probably no one.
Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance won their case against Crystal Cox, being awarded $2.5 million in damages. Crystal Cox was found guilty of defamation by a jury for one particular posted about Kevin Padrick. (The rest of her writings were deemed by the judge to be nutting rantings that no sane person would ever accept as statements of fact.) In the course of the case, Cox was deemed to be not a journalist. Essentially, the “shield law” in Oregon didn’t apply to Crystal Cox because she didn’t work for a traditional news outlet, and was “just” a blogger. The thing is, whether a journalist or not, the defamation claim was clear cut to the jury. Chrystal Cox doesn’t need a new trial, and that’s exactly what the judge ruled, because regardless of the applicability of the shield law, the jury found that Cox said untruthful things about Padrick and Obsidian.
Crystal Cox is hell-bent on destroying people who don’t give in to her wishes. She has now gone after Marc Randazza, an attorney she begged to help her with an appeal in the Obsidian case, even going after Marc’s wife and three year old daughter. When things didn’t work out with Marc, Cyrstal went ahead and registered the domain name marcrandazza.com (along with several others) and told Marc she was just doing so to “control the search, and pr” on her case. He smelled a shakedown immediately.
This tells you what kind of woman we are dealing with: Crystal Cox attacked Marc’s innocent wife and three year old daughter.
It is important to stand up to people like Crystal Cox. Companies are frequently playing the part of the big bullies on the playground – - threatening and suing anyone who might criticize them – - and we need to stand up to them and protect our right to speak our opinions freely about them.
But we also need to stand up against those who pretend to be like us – - those of us who want to advance free speech and legitimately criticize the bad acts of bad actors – - but who are really NOT like us. People like Crystal Cox cannot and should not be allowed to lie about people like Kevin Padrick. Cox must be held accountable to keep the rest of us – - who are not defaming – - protected under the First Amendment.
Read more about investigative blogger Crystal Cox’s extortion attempts:
- The Salty Droid: Crystal Cox :: iS nOt a BLOgGER
- Philly Law Blog: Crystal Cox – Investigative Blogger? No, More Like a Scammer and Extortionist
- Scott Greenfield: A Blogger Not Like Us
- Legal Satyricon: Judge rules, again, that blogger Crystal Cox is not a journalist. You know why? Because she ISN’T a journalist.
- Popehat: “Investigative Journalist” Crystal Cox’s Latest Target: An Enemy’s Three-Year-Old Daughter
- New York Personal Injury Law Blog: Blawg Review is Back! (With some incredible, but true, stories)
- Defending People: Crystal Cox
- Trial Theory: Crystal Cox
- Siouxsie Law: Crystal Cox is Not a Member of the Media
- Carlos Miller: Blogger Must Act Like Journalist To Be Treated Like One
- New York Times: Judge Rules That Bloggers Can Be Journalists (Just Not One in Particular)
- Forbes Kashmir Hill: Ugly New Reputation-Smearing Tactic: Going After A Toddler’s Internet Footprint
- Crystal Cox Has a History of Seeking Payoffs in Exchange For Retraction
- Extortionate Investigative Blogger Crystal Cox: Summary By a Federal Judge
- Cox v. The Internet: Thrown Out in Florida District Court
- Crystal Cox Complaint Dismissed Again
- Crystal Cox v. The Internet: Motions Denied and Electronic Filing Privileges Revoked
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