More than a year has passed since we reported that Maryland Judge Zuberi B. Williams had decided against holding William Hoge accountable under ‘Grace’s Law,’ a statute intended to protect children from online harassment. But we also reported that Judge Williams emphatically questioned Hoge’s credibility during the hearing, a charge that Hoge and other parties have strenuously denied.
Embedded above is newly-obtained audio of that hearing which reinforces our reporting — and snuffs out any hope for further denials. This episode happened almost exactly as we reported it, and it’s time Hoge stopped pretending otherwise.
As we told you last March, Hoge’s years-long campaign against the Kimberlin family was very nearly brought to an end when the older daughter requested the protection of Maryland courts.
Apparently referring to Maryland’s harassment law rather than Grace’s Law, Judge Williams found that Hoge’s pattern of conduct had not continued during the thirty days previous to the trial, declining to issue a protective order.
But first, Hoge’s nemesis seemed to land a hard blow against his credibility during cross-examination. That portion of the testimony is included at the beginning of the audio clip.
At issue was Hoge’s denial that he had commented on a website article in 2013. Focused on the teenage Kimberlin daughter’s budding musical career, the article got negative attention from Hoge and other right wing bloggers. They directed readers to make negative comments about her father at the Gazette website, which made their fabrications and smears about the Kimberlin family visible to her peers at school for the first time.
On the witness stand last March, Hoge tried hard to disown the incident, but was forced to acknowledge a tweet in which he linked to the Gazette article, saying: “I commented, why don’t you?”
As he began his closing argument, attorney F. Patrick Ostronic barely got a word out before Judge Williams pressed the point hard.
“If I believe that he wasn’t truthful in that, commenting about her, why should I believe anything else that he said about not commenting, or trying to follow and contact her?” Williams asked Ostronic.
Perhaps a bit overwhelmed, Hoge’s counsel fell back on the usual cliches about his sterling citizenship. But the judge was having none of it.
“Why should I believe your client about the other things? I mean he took the stand and testified. Why should I believe anything he says?”
Of course, for the right wing clique obsessed with Brett Kimberlin and devoted to destroying his life, the obvious answer is that Judge Williams shouldn’t believe anything Brett Kimberlin says, even when it comes out of William Hoge’s mouth.