What happened in the Appeal Hearing?

To watch the oral arguments in the Lake Point appeal, click below:

The judges will now mull it over for weeks or months before making a decision.  There will be no more briefs or hearings or arguments.  Here’s a summary of what my attorney Sandy D'Alemberte said, followed by the main points that were said by Lake Point's attorney Mr. Tasso.

Sandy D'Alemberte said:
Maggy was a concerned citizen exercising her constitutional right to communicate her opinions to her county commissioners. Citizens have the right to tell their officials their opinions by phone calls, or private meetings, or public or private emails, or simply stopping them at the grocery store. None of that is illegal or improper.

According to Supreme Court rulings she has an absolute right to do that unless Lake Point can prove actual malice with clear and convincing evidence. The burden of proof is on them to prove: She lied. She lied knowingly with reckless disregard for the truth. She lied for the sole purpose of harming Lake Point. She caused their contract to be breached.

Maggy did not lie. She expressed an opinion based on facts. Her opinions were backed up by expert witnesses.

When the opinion of environmental experts differs, it is not evidence that one of them is lying. It is evidence of a difference of opinion and Maggy had an absolute right to express her opinions.

There was not a shred of evidence presented to show that Maggy’s motivation was to hurt Lake Point.

The contract was never broken. Lake Point never stopped mining even when County staff issued a notice of violation of the terms of the contract.

County staff testified that Maggy had absolutely nothing to do with the Notice of Violation they issued and that it was not based on any of her statements.

Lake Point's attorney said:
Maggy lied. The proof that she lied is the fact that County staff in 2011 and Lake Point’s trial expert disagreed with some of her opinions.

The jury’s job is to decide which expert they believe. If they chose to believe the opinion of Lake Point’s expert at the trial, they had a right to conclude Maggy was lying. Maggy was not stating her opinions. She was making statements of fact so they are lies.

The proof that she lied with reckless disregard for the truth is that she didn’t stop saying things when County staff disagreed.

The proof that she lied maliciously was an email of hers, unrelated to Lake Point, which was signed “Ms. Machiavelli.”.

It was evidence of actual malice that she sent some of her emails to the private email addresses of some commissioners.

Along with the fact that she is only a “self identified environmentalist”, the use of improper methods – emails to commissioner’s home address – proves that her primary purpose was to hurt Lake Point.

We know that she caused the breach because she has such clout with the commissioners that anything they did would be because she told them to.

Maggy is a vicious, dishonest person who pretends to be an environmentalist and dedicated herself to a nefarious scheme to destroy Lake Point.

There is no way to know what the three judge panel thought or when they will decide. It’s impossible to tell whether their pointed questions mean they are playing devil’s advocate or that they have made up their mind.

It was a wonderful day to live in a free country where, for more than 200 years, citizens have had the right to speak truth to power and disagree with their public officials.

I’m grateful to the world’s greatest legal team and amici and friends and supporters who have had my back and held my hand over the last six years.

I’m uncertain, but hopeful.

I am certain that the First Amendment is worth it.