A far-right activist from Hampden has turned to a lawyer who has been investigated or disciplined for misconduct in four states and whose client list has included white supremacists and neo-Nazis to fight a harassment lawsuit from the Hermon School Department.
The Hermon School Department sued Shawn McBreairty, 51, in May, saying that he had embarked on a “personal mission” to bully one of its teachers and called the instructor a “sexual predator” and “head of the hypersexualization movement” in statements on social media, his podcast and local radio, and in a letter to the school department.
McBreairty volunteers with the Maine First Project and has accused multiple Maine school districts, state agencies, teachers and others of indoctrinating students and teaching critical race theory, which he claimed to uncover via multiple records requests.
To fight the lawsuit from Hermon schools, McBreairty has turned to a lawyer, Marc Randazza, who defended a far-right talk show host who called the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a hoax until a judge in Connecticut barred him from doing so because of “serious misconduct” elsewhere.
Randazza filed a motion to dismiss Hermon’s lawsuit on June 17 in Penobscot County Superior Court along with Bangor attorney Brett Baber.
“This lawsuit should concern any American who thinks the government should be accountable to the people and that the government should not be able to meet criticism with censorship,” Randazza said in announcing the motion.
Randazza is a lawyer with offices in Massachusetts and Las Vegas who specializes in free speech and intellectual property cases and has defended a handful of white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists in litigation.
He is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, Florida, Nevada, California and Arizona, according to an application he filed to represent McBreairty in Maine and legal records.
But four of those states have investigated or disciplined him for unethical behavior, leading a Connecticut judge in 2018 to deny his request to practice in that state as a visiting attorney, according to court documents and previous reporting.
Randazza was seeking to represent Alex Jones, a far-right talk show host and conspiracy theorist, after seven victims’ families filed defamation lawsuits against Jones for saying that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.
The judge accused Randazza of “serious misconduct,” and Jones fired him as his lawyer.
A spokesperson for Randazza did not respond to a request for comment.
Melissa Hewey, an attorney for the Hermon School Department, said in a June 24 filing that the district did not object to Randazza’s request to represent McBreairty.
In September 2020, the Florida Supreme Court placed Randazza on probation for a year for violating conflict of interest rules and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine after he negotiated a settlement with a company, Oron, while engaging in litigation against the company as in-house counsel for Liberty Media, a Las Vegas-based pornography studio.
Liberty said that Randazza had been performing legal work for competing pornography studios while presenting himself to those studios as an independent attorney who occasionally contracted with Liberty. Randazza also pushed those studios to pay him in exchange for not suing them on behalf of his employer, Liberty executives argued.
Randazza resigned from Liberty in 2012, and the studio demanded that he hand over a separate $75,000 settlement he had negotiated from Oron. Randazza then sued Liberty in 2015 for backpay, wrongful termination and harassment for being heterosexual, because Liberty primarily produces gay pornography.
The arbitrator found, instead, that Randazza had wrongly kept settlements from cases he argued for Liberty, and ordered him to pay his former employer more than $600,000. Randazza then filed for bankruptcy, forcing his insurance company to pay Liberty’s award.
In Nevada, the bar association filed a complaint in 2016, after which Randazza pleaded guilty to two violations in 2018, for bribing Oron and for lending a client money “without informing the client in writing of the desirability of obtaining independent counsel,” according to legal records.
The Nevada Supreme Court agreed to delay his 12-month probation period for 18 months, provided he avoided racking up more ethics complaints, paid a $2,500 fine and underwent 20 hours in ethics training.
The Nevada investigation also inspired investigations against Randazza’s licenses to practice in Arizona and Massachusetts.
An Arizona judge reprimanded him for failure to avoid conflicts of interest and put him on probation for 18 months in January 2019 and ordered him to pay a fine, according to state legal records.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court also suspended Randazza’s license to practice in that state in May 2019 but lifted that suspension in April 2020 after Randazza agreed to comply with the terms of his Nevada probation.
In response to the Hermon complaint, Baber argued that McBreairty’s actions were supported by free speech laws, a similar argument Randazza used when he unsuccessfully defended a white supremacist who organized a campaign to threaten a Jewish woman in Montana.
“McBreairty’s statements were opinions, not susceptible to being proved true or false,” Baber said in the motion. He also argued that the school department hadn’t demonstrated how McBreairty’s actions harmed their employees.
Baber referred a request for comment to Randazza.
“That a teacher may be upset because the public criticizes them is a perfectly human reaction,” Baber said in the motion. “One should equally expect, and hope, that petitioning the government would enable the government to hear grievances from the public and then improve itself, not fold like a house of cards and degrade in quality as Hermon School [Department] suggests.”
The Hermon School Department said in its initial complaint that the teacher McBreairty allegedly targeted had to change classrooms, seek counseling and miss work because of the emotional distress that his statements caused, and that other teachers have resigned or threatened to quit because of McBreairty’s statements.
Randazza also defended Andrew Anglin, who publishes a neo-Nazi internet forum, after Anglin posted a Montana woman’s personal information in 2017, leading her and her family to receive hundreds of threatening messages targeting them for being Jewish.
Randazza argued that while he “abhorred” his client’s actions, Anglin was protected by the First Amendment to make racist and anti-Semitic comments on his website, The Daily Stormer.
A judge disagreed, and ordered Anglin to pay the woman $14 million in August 2019 after he refused to appear in court and went into hiding.
Anglin’s whereabouts are still unknown, and he has claimed to be living outside the country.