ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A former assistant state attorney general who was fired after being accused of harassing the gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan was previously warned about using state resources for anti-gay attacks on politicians, according to details of a report published Sunday
A report compiled by the attorney general’s office said Andrew Shirvell was warned last February after sending an e-mail to a former state representative and others that included a gay slur, said AnnArbor.com, citing the report that it obtained.
The warning came two months before Shirvell started a blog that criticized student assembly president, Chris Armstrong, as a racist with a “radical homosexual agenda.” The e-mail was listed among the eight reasons for Shirvell’s firing.
A message seeking comment was left Sunday with Shirvell’s attorney, who has said the actions were constitutionally protected as free speech. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said Sunday he didn’t have a copy of the report with him, but one could be available as early as Monday.
National criticism erupted over the blog last fall. The attorney general’s office drew more than 22,000 e-mails, 150 letters and 940 phone calls, most advocating for Shirvell to be fired, documents show. He was fired in November.
Then- Attorney General Mike Cox said at the time that the firing came after a state investigation revealed that Shirvell “repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior and inappropriately used state resources.”
Shirvell, a 2002 University of Michigan graduate and one of about 250 lawyers in the attorney general’s office, handled cases in which convictions are appealed in federal court, writing defenses for the state. It was not a management or supervisory position.
After Shirvell was fired, Armstrong and his lawyer Deborah Gordon petitioned the state Attorney Grievance Commission to have Shirvell disbarred. That process is still ongoing. Gordon said Armstrong has not ruled out further legal action against Shirvell.
The investigation found that Shirvell harassed Armstrong’s friends as they were socializing in Ann Arbor and made numerous calls to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office while Armstrong was working there as an intern.
The investigation revealed that while at work during normal business hours, Shirvell called Pelosi’s office and posted attacks on Armstrong on the Internet.
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