Judge tosses commentators’ challenge to Ohio harassment ban


A federal judge has dismissed a constitutional challenge to an Ohio law against internet harassment brought by a group of liberal and conservative online political commentators.

Akron-based U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi found late last month that a liberal blog, a county Tea Party organization and a freelance political reporter who brought the suit faced no credible threat of prosecution and therefore lacked the standing to sue.

Plaintiffs were weighing an appeal.

At issue is a 2016 state law that prohibits knowingly posting text, audio statements or images on a website “for the purpose of abusing ... or harassing another person.”

The commentators had argued their frequent use of “invective, ridicule and strong language” against politicians could have subjected them to penalties under the law.

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