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Gill walks out on jury selection in defamation lawsuit trial

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 25. 2017 9:06PM
Since Thursday afternoon, the electronic signs at the Manchester offices of the Mortgage Specialists Inc, which owner Michael Gill (inset) used to accuse local business leaders of drug dealing and corruption, have been dark. (Union Leader file)

CONCORD — A trial to determine damages in a defamation lawsuit filed against Michael Gill over accusatory messages posted on electronic signs outside his business may begin without him today.

Gill walked out of Merrimack County Superior Court Monday prior to jury selection, telling the judge and those in the courtroom he was “headed to Washington.”

The lawsuit seeks $20 million in damages. It was filed in spring 2016 by three business leaders Gill has accused of drug dealing and corruption on signs at offices of the Mortgage Specialists Inc. — developer Dick Anagnost, auto dealer Andy Crews and banker William Greiner.

In a Sept. 1 ruling, Superior Court Judge Brian Tucker said that Gill is liable for damages “because the undisputed factual record establishes the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in publishing without valid privilege a false and defamatory statement of fact about each plaintiff.”

By finding the statements to be defamatory, Tucker sent the case to trial with only damages to be decided. The ruling follows a similar one issued by Tucker in April allowing Crews, Anagnost and Greiner to obtain a $12 million lien against property owned by Gill, based on “a reasonable likelihood” that the statements he’s made met the defamation standard.

On Monday all parties appeared at Superior Court for jury selection, though Gill left the courtroom before the process got underway.

“I’m not picking any jurors,” Gill told Tucker. “I am putting on the record that this is a criminal enterprise that you are trying to rush through. This is an orchestration, which is why I’m not allowed to have any witnesses. Why I’m not allowed to have evidence. Why I’m not allowed to have exhibits.”

Gill then told Tucker and those in the courtroom he was heading to Washington, D.C.

“I am leaving now; you can find me guilty your honor and I will appeal this case,” said Gill. “I am going to Washington and put everyone in jail.”

“Mr. Gill, either stay or leave — it’s your choice,” said Tucker.

“Let’s go guys,” said Gill as he walked out.

Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Greiner said jury selection proceeded without Gill, who is representing himself. Greiner said the trial is scheduled to get underway at 8:30 a.m. today in Merrimack County Superior Court. In a civil suit, summary judgment is granted to the party seeking it when no material facts in the case are in dispute.

“It didn’t sound like he (Gill) will be there,” said Greiner. “He said he was headed out of town.”

Gill has maintained he has evidence supporting the claims against Crews, Anagnost and Greiner, as well as other prominent figures he has accused of criminal activity on the signs and his “State of Corruption” social media accounts.

“I have a meeting with the Department of Justice on Wednesday, and I am going to make that meeting,” Gill told Tucker on Monday. “And I am bringing this evidence and you are going to have to explain that you have three of my lawyers fearful for their lives.”

Attempts to verify with a Department of Justice spokesperson that Gill has a confirmed meeting Wednesday in Washington were unsuccessful.

Gill said in June during a hearing on another matter that he had gone to Washington, D.C., to enlist federal agencies in his investigation.

That hearing concerned the bylaws of the commercial condominium in Manchester where Mortgage Specialists owns a unit and has electronic signs prominently displayed on South Willow Street.

Judge Amy Messer ruled against Gill in that case, stating the condominium’s bylaws clearly limit words and images on signs at the complex to business-related matters. Last Thursday, Messer ruled the power supply to the electronic signs could be shut off. The signs have been dark since Thursday afternoon.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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