Government watchdog Judicial Watch is claiming victory in a lawsuit against filed by an Antifa activist over access to records of her communications under the provisions of the California Public Records Act after a court ordered her to pay tens of thousands of dollars for filing a “frivolous” case.
It was two years ago that Judicial Watch sought the records of Yvett Felarca’s Antifa activism contained in the archives of the Berkeley Unified School District, where she worked.
A middle school teacher, she is a prominent figure in a group called By Any Means Necessary, BAMN, founded by the Marxist Revolutionary Worker League.
The group protests speaking engagements by conservative speakers “By Any Means Necessary.”
In 2016, she and others were “arrested and charged with several crimes, including felony assault, for inciting a riot in Sacramento,” Judicial Watch said. She’s been ordered to stand trial for assault.
Felarco sued to prevent the Berkeley district from furnishing the public records to Judicial Watch, alleging the watchdog group was misusing the law for political means.
But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California found that her action was “entirely frivolous” and has awarded legal fees to Judicial Watch.
He wrote in his ruling that claims by Felarco were “premised on the obviously baseless assumption” that the First Amendment condemns the speech of some while condoning the ideological missions of others.
Felarco and two co-plaintiffs were ordered to pay Judicial Watch $22,000 in attorney’s fees and $4,000 in litigation costs.
The judge’s ruling said, “The plaintiffs also mischaracterized the documents under review” and said the plaintiffs “failed to grapple with the role Ms. Felarca played in making herself a topic of public discourse through her physical conduct at public rallies and her voluntary appearance on Fox News.”
Further, the judge pointed out, many of the documents Felarco was trying to keep concealed “had been publicly disclosed months earlier in another suit brought by Ms. Felarca against BUSD, where she was represented by the same counsel.”
Judicial Watch said that along with Felarca’s $20,000 payment, co-plaintiffs Lori Nixon and Larry Stefl were ordered to pay Judicial Watch $1,000 each.
“Judicial Watch is entitled to attorney’s fees because the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was frivolous, and their litigation conduct was unreasonable,” the judge wrote.
“This is a huge victory for Judicial Watch against Antifa and the violent left,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “Ms. Felarca attacked Judicial Watch without basis and the court was right to reject her ploy to deny our ‘right to know’ because we don’t share her violent left views.”
The Anti-Defamation League explains Antifa is short for antifascist, but it actually is a collection of groups, networks and individuals who oppose “right-wing movements.”
“Most Antifa come from the anarchist movement or from the far left,” ADL said.
“Today, Antifa activists focus on harassing right wing extremists both online and in real life … the use of violent measures by some Antifa against their adversaries can create a vicious, self-defeating cycle of attacks, counter-attacks and blame.”
ADL warned, “Most established civil rights organizations criticize Antifa tactics as dangerous and counterproductive.”
“All forms of Antifa violence are problematic.”