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Jury Will Hear Trial Involving Gay U-M Student, Lawyer

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Andrew Shirvell (video screenshot)

Andrew Shirvell (video screenshot)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Jury selection is starting in a civil lawsuit against a former state of Michigan lawyer who is accused of stalking and defaming a gay student government president at the University of Michigan.

An attorney for Chris Armstrong said she would drop the case if ex-Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell apologized. Instead, the case is going to trial Tuesday in Detroit federal court.

In a lawsuit he filed against Shirvell last spring, Armstrong claimed Shirvell had been stalking him on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor and at his home.

Armstrong’s attorney Deborah Gordon said in the complaint that Shirvell displayed a “bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong through critical blog and Facebook posts in which he claimed Armstrong was pushing a “radical homosexual agenda.”

Shirvell, a 2002 University of Michigan graduate, was fired in by then-Attorney General Mike Cox in Nov. 2010 after the accusations.

Shirvell, who now lives in North Babylon, N.Y., said he has a right to express his belief that Armstrong is a radical activist. He said his statements were true or protected because Armstrong was a public figure

Armstrong graduated in 2011. He’s seeking more than $25,000  in damages.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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