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Missouri senators questioned immunity claims in Chiefs parade shooting lawsuit | KCUR

A Kansas man is suing three Missouri lawmakers for defamation, challenging their claims that their statements accusing him of involvement in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl shooting were made during official business.

In Monday’s filings regarding federal lawsuits that Denton Loudermill is filing against three state senators, his lawyers demand an opportunity to verify the claims. Loudermill’s attorneys – Arthur Benson, LaRonna Lassiter Saunders and Katrina Robertson – filed three nearly identical responses Monday to motions to dismiss filed by state Sens. Nick Schroer, Rick Brattin and Denny Hoskins.

The three senators are represented by Attorney General Andrew Bailey, and their briefs include legal immunity for their social media posts and the fact that the federal court in Kansas where the case was filed has no jurisdiction over them.

“Defendant’s claim of immunity depends on facts not admitted by plaintiff: whether defendant engaged in ‘lawful legislative activity,’” Loudermill’s attorneys wrote in response to Schroer’s motion to dismiss. “And this factual claim turns on the issue of whether defendant formulated, created, determined, created or opposed legislative policy.”

The submissions demand a chance to investigate the immunity claim if the case cannot proceed without a resolution.

No hearings are scheduled in this case.

Loudermill was briefly detained by law enforcement after gunfire broke out near Union Station in Kansas City as Super Bowl festivities were winding down.

Violence related to the dispute between the parties led to the death of Lisa Lopez-Galvan and the injury of 22 other people. Three men, none of whom are immigrants, have been charged with murder for their roles in the shootings, and three others face federal firearms charges for selling the weapons used in the shootings.

Loudermill, who was born in Kansas, was briefly detained because he was too slow to leave the scene of the shooting, he told The Independent in an interview earlier this year.

He was photographed sitting on a curb with his hands behind his back. An account on X, formally known as Twitter, called Deep Truth Intel, used the photo and referred to Loudermill as an “illegal immigrant” arrested as the shooter.

It then appeared in posts by the Missouri Freedom Caucus, a group of six Republican state senators who took issue with GOP leadership in the Senate. The post was deleted and replaced with one affirmatively stating that it had nothing to do with the shootings.

Brattin, Hoskins and Schroer, as well as Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican, also spread incorrect information on social media, including in the Deep Truth Intel post or a similar post with Loudermill’s photo.

Burchett is also being sued by Loudermill and is challenging the jurisdiction of a federal court in Kansas. Burchett does not claim any official immunity for his position.

In documents prepared by Deputy Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan, Brattin, Hoskins and Schroer sought to tie their statements to their job duties.

Brattin’s first post linking Loudermill to the shooting, once deleted, demanded “#POTUS CLOSE THE BORDER” and included the now-deleted Intel Deep Truth post.

It’s a political statement from an elected official, Morgan wrote about Brattin’s post.

“Defendant’s statement to the President of the United States was a statement on border security on the southern border – an issue of clear national and political importance,” he wrote.

Hoskins’ version on X shared a screenshot of the Deep Truth Intel post and accused President Joe Biden and Kansas City’s political leaders of enabling the shooting.

“Fact – President Biden’s open borders policy and cities that promote themselves as sanctuary cities like #Kansas City are inviting illegal, violent immigrants into the United States,” Hoskins wrote.

That post has been deleted, but in a Feb. 14 post without a photo, Hoskins wrote that “from the information I have seen” it appears that “at least one of the alleged shooters is an undocumented immigrant and all three arrested are repeat violent offenders.” .

Hoskins hedged this with an “IF THIS IS ACCURATE” statement and a repetition of conservative rhetoric aimed at stopping immigration and stopping cities from helping immigrants, blaming crime on “catch-and-release policies pursued in liberal cities.”

Morgan’s defense of this statement is almost identical to that raised regarding Brattin’s position.

“Defendant’s statement to the President of the United States was a policy statement related to border security and the rights of citizens protected under the Second Amendment – ​​issues of clear national and political importance and importance,” the lawsuit says.

Schroer was the least certain to post about Loudermill’s immigration status and arrest of the three people currently being sued.

Schroer’s post included a link to Burchett’s post, which stated over Loudermill’s photo that “One of the shooters in the Kansas City Chiefs victory parade has been identified as an illegal alien.”

“Can we get confirmation or denial of this information from local officials or law enforcement?” Schroer wrote on X. “I have been sent videos or photos of at least 6 different people arrested since yesterday, but have been officially told that only 3 are still in custody. People deserve answers.”

The post, written by Morgan on Schroer’s behalf, is a call for transparency.

“A statement calling for greater government transparency in investigations into a tragic event is precisely the type of ‘policy formulation’ intended to protect legislative immunity,” Morgan wrote.

Roxie Hammill

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Johnson County Post Office

From left: Stephanie Fairweather (sister of Denton Loudermill Jr.); Denton Loudermill Jr.; Reba Paul (also sister); and LaRonna Lassiter Saunders, Loudermill attorney.

Statements of an official nature mask the nature of the posts, Loudermill’s lawyers wrote.

“Referring to the plaintiff as an illegal immigrant and a shooter was highly offensive to the plaintiff and caused him injuries,” they wrote.

All four Republicans sued by Loudermill have asserted that they did not direct their posts to an audience in Kansas and that they have no personal ties to Kansas that would give a federal court there jurisdiction.

Loudermill’s lawyers responded that the mail was seen by a large number of people in Kansas and that Loudermill had suffered damage to his reputation in the state where he lived.

The move by Bailey’s office to defend lawmakers was met with sharp criticism from some quarters.

On May 16, the day before the end of this year’s legislative session, Senator Mike Cierpiot, a Lee Republican and a staunch enemy of the Freedom Caucus members, attempted to introduce an amendment to the journal to read that “it is the opinion of the Missouri Senate that the office of attorney general should not issue no money from the state legal fees fund” for the defense of Hoskins, Schroer and Brattin.

And Gov. Mike Parson issued an executive order last month that no lawsuit-related payments should be certified from the state’s legal expenses fund “without my consent or an order of the court.”

Missourians, Parson wrote, “should not be responsible for the legal costs associated with judgments handed down by state senators who falsely attacked a private citizen on social media.”

This story was originally published by Independent Missouri.