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Judge delays hearing on dispute between H.B. blogger and school trustee

A court hearing on a Huntington Beach blogger’s motion accusing an Ocean View School District trustee of using the legal system to suppress his criticism of her was postponed Wednesday to give attorneys more time to prepare case documents.

HBSledgehammer.com publisher Chuck Johnson is asking an Orange County Superior Court judge to determine whether trustee Gina Clayton-Tarvin purposely tried to stifle his right to criticize an elected official by falsely claiming he threatened her with physical, rather than metaphoric, harm.

Clayton-Tarvin argues that the criticisms were more like threats.

Johnson routinely lambastes Clayton-Tarvin on Facebook, his site and at school board meetings.

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Judge Timothy J. Stafford said the briefs submitted by attorneys were unsatisfactory and ordered attorneys to submit new ones within five days before a new hearing date is set.

“Then we can discuss it intelligently,” Stafford said.

Johnson’s petition argues that Clayton-Tarvin’s request for a restraining order, which was denied May 9 by Stafford, should be rejected if she failed to “provide sufficient evidence” to demonstrate how Johnson’s criticisms were meant as actual threats. Johnson is also seeking attorney’s fees.

Clayton-Tarvin alleged in court documents that Johnson caused her to “fear for my own safety and for that of my immediate family members.”

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Priscella.Vega@latimes.com

Twitter: @vegapriscella


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