Troll who harassed woman through 8,000 hate-tweets claims free speech defense

William Lawrence Cassidy is accused of posting some 8,000 tweets to harass Alyce Zeoli, who is described in this NYT article as "a Buddhist leader based in Maryland."

Using an ever-changing series of pseudonyms, the authorities say, Mr. Cassidy published thousands of Twitter posts about Ms. Zeoli. Some were weird horror-movie descriptions of what would befall her; others were more along these lines: “Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day.”

Here is one of them, as redacted in the criminal complaint: “A thousand voices call out to (Victim 1) and she cannot shut off the silent scream.” Another: “Ya like haiku? Here’s one for ya. Long limb, sharp saw, hard drop.”

Cassidy has been jailed on charges of online stalking and is now the subject of a federal case that suggests the question...

Is posting a public message on Twitter akin to speaking from an old-fashioned soapbox, or can it also be regarded as a means of direct personal communication, like a letter or phone call?

Read Somini Sengupta's piece in the NYT here: Man Accused of Stalking via Twitter Claims Free Speech