Kennedy seems to be nursing one heck of a grudge over a three-year-old post on DailyKos, written by a community blogger using the name “Downeast Dem.” The brief post notes that Kennedy spoke against COVID measures by the Merkel government at a protest “organized by right-wing extremist organizations – including the AfD party and various anti-Semitic conspiracy groups as well as the neo-Nazi NPD party.”
The Daily Beast has the details of Kennedy’s odd obsession with DowneastDem:
Numerous outlets covered Kennedy’s speech and participation in the day’s events by neo-Nazis, the Hitler-curious Alternative for Deutschland Party, and members of the paranoid neo-monarchist Reichsburger movement, which last year plotted a putsch against the democratically elected German government. But the Martha’s Vineyard habitue singled out the anonymous DailyKos article, launching a lawsuit in November 2020 to force the online publication to divulge DowneastDem’s real name.
That litigation stalled in New York and California courts, but Kennedy apparently continued his investigation into the man behind the moniker—finally mailing a menacing draft complaint this spring seeking a minimum $1 million settlement from one David Vickrey.
Kennedy’s lawyer alleges he was part of a separate event “initiated by the group Querdenken—a democratic movement whose name means ‘lateral thinking’ and who vehemently oppose all forms of fascism and extremism,” according to The Daily Beast.
Well, not really. TDB has more:
The problem with this argument is that The Daily Beast and numerous other organizations have extensively documented Querdenken’s extremist affinities and associations. Not only does it indulge in QAnon conspiracies and fawn over Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, but the U.S. State Department has highlighted its “anti-Semitic rhetoric and views,” and a top police official in the German city of Bremen has described it as “a serious threat to public security.” A report by that official noted that Querdenken is a “heterogeneous” group of extremists, but noted its links to neo-Nazi and Reichsburger networks—as well as to a plot to assassinate the premier of the state of Saxony. The report further identified Querdenken as the main organizing force behind all anti-lockdown activities in Berlin the day of Kennedy’s speech, as well as behind the attack on the German parliament that day.
That ought to be enough to defeat the threatened defamation lawsuit. But as Kennedy and his lawyer, Robert Barnes, surely know, fighting a mega-rich guy like RFK Jr. can be very costly and intimidating. So much for his claim to be a free speech advocate.
The irony is that Downeast Dem’s post probably would have been long forgotten had Kennedy not dragged it back into the spotlight.
As for Barnes, while he goes hell-bent after Vickrey, he has defended Alex Jones, who has spread actual and extremely pernicious disinformation. Barnes has also represented Kyle Rittenhouse, tweeting, “Kid’s innocent, and everybody knows it.” He has claimed his motto is, “I fight for the underdog and win the impossible.”