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Judge dismisses lawsuit over proposed Richard Spencer speech at Penn State

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit over a proposed speech by Richard B. Spencer at Penn State University, saying the racist alt-right figurehead’s booker never pursued the litigation.

The end of the lawsuit comes a month after Spencer announced an end to his controversial and ill-received campus speaking tour.

U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann concluded that Cameron Padgett, who set up many of Spencer’s on-campus speeches, did nothing to pursue the litigation after filing it in October 2017. There were no filings in the lawsuit beyond the initial complaint and summons and neither Padgett nor his lawyer responded to a warning from Brann that the case would be spiked without some effort to pursue it.

The dismissal is the latest mark in Spencer’s fall from ballyhooed public speaker outraging Antifa activists and scaring university administrators to being able to draw only a dozen or so to hear him talk about white nationalism at a university.

Padgett, as he had done at Auburn University, Michigan State University and Ohio State University, sued to force the schools to allow Spencer to speak and provide security for the event.

Spencer eventually spoke at Michigan State and Auburn, as well as Texas A&M and the University of Florida, but Padgett dropped the Ohio State University case. A lawsuit is still pending against the University of Cincinnati.

While Spencer drew news coverage and crowds to a few of his speeches at public universities, he also drew violent confrontations between his backers and protestors.

At the University of Florida in Gainesville, three people were arrested and charged with attempted murder after shots were fired during a confrontation.

And, Spencer’s last college speech at Michigan State drew hundreds of protestors and backers fighting outside while Spencer spoke to a sparse crowd inside an agricultural arena, where two dozen journalists were joined by about a dozen supporters.

Making that appearance even worse for Spencer, Michigan-based attorney Kyle Bristow, who handled legal issues for some of the appearances, publicly announced that weekend he was walking away from alt-right legal work and the racist movement.

It was shortly after that speech on March 5 that Spencer announced an end – at least for now – of his college campus speaking tour.

“In our lives, we always need to be course correcting. We always need to take a step back and think, and ask ourselves honestly, is this the right direction?” Spencer said in a 25-minute video uploaded to YouTube. “We need to do that with regard to my public appearances going forward or really any public appearance involving a controversial, alt-right identitarian figure.”

Since then, Spencer hasn’t spoken publicly about returning to campus.

But, with the Cincinnati lawsuit still pending, it’s unclear if Spencer — or someone of like mind  — will make an attempt to return to campuses, starting with the southern Ohio school.

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