An attorney for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Friday told the Henrico Circuit Court in Virginia that the anonymous user or users behind the Twitter account “Devin Nunes’ Cow” could be sitting in the courtroom watching the proceedings, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Nunes’s attorney likely made the suggestion because approximately 20 people–more than half of the public spectators who showed up to the courthouse–wore T-shirts adorned with cows and carried toy stuffed cows with them. At one point, they also reportedly signed a card which was addressed to “Devin Nunes’ Cow.”
As Law&Crime previously reported, the genesis of Friday’s hearing stemmed from a lawsuit Nunes filed in March against Twitter, Liz Mair, Mair Strategies, LLC, and Twitter accounts @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow (Devin Nunes’ Cow). Nunes claims that Twitter discriminated against him and other conservative social media users by permitting them to be defamed by anonymous users and “shadow banning” their accounts.
The lawsuit specifically claims that the accounts @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow attacked and disparaged Nunes with false claims, which harmed his re-election campaign. While @DevinCow and its fanbase are still clearly active, the account of @DevinNunesMom has since been suspended.
“How do we know [Devin Nunes’] cow and mom aren’t in Henrico? They won’t tell us,” Nunes’ attorney Steven Biss asked of Judge John Marshall during Friday’s preliminary arguments.
The claim against Mair stems from her response to a Nunes tweet from June 2018, in which she said: “To be fair, I think the @fresnobee writing up your investment in a winery that allegedly used underage hookers to solicit investment –an allegation you’ve known about for years, during which you’ve stayed invested in it, I might add — did surprise you.”
Nunes is seeking “compensatory damages and punitive damages in an amount not less than $250,000,000” for alleged “negligence, defamation per se, insulting words, and civil conspiracy.”
According to the Times-Dispatch, Judge Marshall said he would rule on whether or not the case will be permitted to proceed within the next two weeks.
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]