Andy Ngo Reflects on ‘Disappointing’ Verdict in Antifa Assault Lawsuit

Andy Ngo Reflects on ‘Disappointing’ Verdict in Antifa Assault Lawsuit
In this file image from video, journalist Andy Ngo speaks to The Epoch Times in West Palm Beach, Fla. (The Epoch Times)
Ryan Morgan
Steve Lance

Journalist Andy Ngo and his attorney are disappointed in the verdict after a jury in Portland, Oregon, found two suspects not liable on any counts after Mr. Ngo accused them of taking part in a violent May 2021 assault.

Mr. Ngo alleged activists John Hacker and Elizabeth Richter took part in the May 28, 2021, attack, which involved multiple black-clad individuals tackling and striking the senior editor for the Post Millennial. Mr. Ngo contends that he was reporting from a rally marking the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, when he was assaulted by members of Antifa, a network of far-left political activists known for engaging in political violence.

On Tuesday, a Portland jury returned a verdict, finding Mr. Hacker and Ms. Richter not liable for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“I’ve been victimized, brutalized repeatedly for my reporting in Portland on far-left violent extremists, and time and time again, the criminal justice system fell through in that nobody was convicted,” Mr. Ngo told NTD News’ “Capitol Report” host Steve Lance.

“This civil case ... was me not giving up, just really wanting to stand up for press freedom in Portland, to stand up for myself, and also to send a message that what happened to me was wrong, and that we can unmask some of these persons of interest or suspects,” Mr. Ngo added. “And so the verdict delivery, earlier this week was extremely disappointing.”

Allegations of Intimidation

Mr. Ngo’s disappointment was shared by his attorney, Dorothy Yamamoto.

“To be frank, it was a disappointing verdict, it was a surprising verdict, on my end. The jurors did seem to really care and be paying attention during the case,” Ms. Yamamoto said, adding, “We do have some concerns about how fair the trial played out.”

A video from the 2021 attack showed Mr. Ngo being chased down a street and being tackled to the pavement and then struck by multiple assailants.
After the initial assault, Mr. Ngo fled to a hotel lobby, where his attackers followed and gathered outside. Video taken from one person at the hotel appeared to include a woman’s voice, stating “I can’t wait for you to come out, Andy” and threatening, “We are going to beat the [expletive] out of you, [expletive]” before describing the location where Mr. Ngo was hiding from his attackers. Mr. Ngo alleged that Ms. Richter was the woman in question who made the assault threats and identified his location.

During the trial, Ms. Richter’s lawyer, Brinson Cooper admitted his client dislikes Mr. Ngo and that she recorded the video and made the threatening comments, but insisted the remarks were an understandable expression of her feelings toward Mr. Ngo, whom he contends is a “controversial” and “provocative” figure. Mr. Cooper insisted his client simply made the recording because she recognized Mr. Ngo as a “provocative” individual and took no part in the physical attacks.

Mr. Hacker’s attorney, Michelle Burrows, also acknowledged that her client had accosted Mr. Ngo during a separate 2019 incident, in which he poured water on Mr. Ngo and slapped his phone away, but Ms. Burrows said he client had not taken part in physically assaulting Mr. Ngo during the 2021 incident. Mr. Ngo alleged Mr. Hacker chased him and called attention to those who did physically assault him.

While Ms. Yamamoto said she felt the jury was receptive to their case, there were allegations of intimidation prior that could have impacted the final verdict.

“Jury intimidation is a concern of ours,” she told NTD News.

“There were a number of security incidences inside and outside of the courtroom and courthouse, which was very concerning for the parties involved and also for the jurors, from my understanding,” Mr. Ngo added.

According to a report by Post Millenial reporter Katie Daviscourt, Ms. Burrows argued on behalf of Antifa as a cause, identified with the far-left network, and told jurors she would remember their faces.

Next Steps and Lessons From Verdict

Ms. Yamamoto said she and Mr. Ngo are considering a possible appeal, based on the jury intimidation allegations and evidentiary disputes during the trial.

“There are options and we are continuing to discuss,” she said. “It is going to be up to Andy, though. It was extremely personal to put forward and testify about what he’s gone through and having to relive all of that. And it could be heartbreaking if after a fair trial is had, the jury still rules the way it did.”

Ms. Yamamoto said that, assuming that the trial was ultimately fair and jurors acted without fear, the verdict is a concerning one.

“It is sending a message that Portland and Multnomah County is okay with intentionally pouring water on a reporter if they don’t like their journalism, they are okay with slapping out a phone from someone just because they don’t like someone’s journalism, and they are okay with going to a hotel and surrounding that journalist because they don’t like that journalism,” she said.

Despite his disappointment in the verdict, Mr. Ngo said one optimistic sign for him was that he believed support is declining for violent far-left activists like the kind he accused of attacked him.

“I do think that far-left violent extremism through Antifa, or however they label themselves, are in a diminished role in Portland,” he said. “Actually, a lot of the Antifa militants really struggled to get their comrades out to support those who were on trial, actually. ... The numbers that did show up, were not the type of numbers we saw in 2020 or 2021.”