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Hearing For Lawyer In Dispute With Gay UM Student

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shirvell andrew Hearing For Lawyer In Dispute With Gay UM StudentThe disciplinary hearing for an assistant state attorney general accused of harassing the gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan will resume next week.

Assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell went on leave a month ago after national criticism erupted over a blog he wrote characterizing student leader Chris Armstrong as a “racist” and “liar” who promoted a “radical homosexual agenda.”

It’s up to Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to decide Shirvell’s punishment, if any.

Shirvell’s disciplinary hearing began Friday and lasted about four hours. It likely will resume next Tuesday or Wednesday.

“The long and the short of it is we didn’t get to finish,” said Shirvell’s attorney, Philip Thomas.  “We’re not going to get a decision before next week.”

Thomas has said Shirvell’s actions are constitutionally protected as free speech.

Shirvell, 30, had been on personal leave before the hearing but now is on administrative leave as the hearing continues, attorney general spokesman John Sellek said.

Armstrong has accused Shirvell of videotaping a late-night party at his off-campus house, showing up at campus appearances with a sign that read “racist” and “liar,” and lambasting him on his blog.

Armstrong’s lawyer has filed a complaint with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, seeking an investigation into Shirvell’s actions. Armstrong had filed for a personal protection order against Shirvell but withdrew that request late last month.

Shirvell is allowed on the University of Michigan’s campus but with restrictions. He is not allowed to make physical or verbal contact with Armstrong nor can he be in the same place as the 21-year-old student when it’s likely Armstrong will be present.

Shirvell, one of about 250 lawyers in the attorney general’s office, handles cases in which convictions are appealed in federal court, writing defenses for the state. It is not a management or supervisory position.
  
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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