University Agrees to Pay $29K to Dismiss Richard Spencer Lawsuit

Chip Brownlee, The Plainsman, May 15, 2017

University lawyers agreed last week to pay out almost $29,000 in legal costs to dismiss the lawsuit brought last month over controversial white nationalist Richard Spencer’s planned speech at Auburn.

The university agreed to pay court costs in a joint agreement filed on May 11 with the federal district that was hearing the case. The payout will cover the costs of the legal hearings, which went in favor of Spencer and the Georgia student who filed the suit, Cameron Padgett.

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The University attempted to prevent Spencer’s visit to Auburn last month, canceling his planned speech in Foy Hall over safety concerns raised in a police risk assessment.

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A day before Spencer’s planned speech on April 18, Padgett, who booked Foy Hall for Spencer’s speech, filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction forcing the University to let Spencer speak. His attorneys claimed that the University had violated Padgett and Spencer’s First Amendment rights by preventing his speech.

Only a few hours before the event began last month, the federal judge who heard the case ruled in favor of Spencer’s right to speak on campus. Now, Auburn has agreed to pay Padgett’s legal fees after losing the case.

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In the end, the judge said the University did not provide any supporting evidence in their case that Spencer advocated violence or that his visit would result in violence.

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