The Beaver Countian has declined to provide information to elected Beaver County Treasurer Connie Javens and her adult daughter Renee Javens Zuk which could be used to identify individuals who anonymously posted negative comments about them. The Beaver Countian was served with a subpoena last week by the two women attempting to compel the production of records on six “John Doe” defendants they are suing for defamation.

Attorneys representing the Beaver Countian will now seek to quash that subpoena in court.

The lawsuit by Javens and Zuk alleges the six commenters are “engaged in a calculated scheme to defame, embarrass, and otherwise harass” them. The lawsuit went on to say the two women are “innocent victims of an offensive and scandalous attack on their reputation by these John Does (1)-(6), assailants hiding behind an anonymous Internet identity.”

Treasurer Connie Javens has been the topic of extensive investigative reporting by the Beaver Countian, and is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement officials.

The bar for a successful defamation action brought by public officials, public figures, or limited-purpose public figures is set extremely high — requiring a showing of what the courts call “actual malice.”

Although not a named defendant in Treasurer Javens’ litigation, the Beaver Countian stands dedicated to maintaining a forum which provides local citizens the means to freely express dissent and engage in robust and open debate — including by exercising their Constitutional right to engage in anonymous speech. To that end, attorneys representing this publication will be filing legal motions in Beaver County Court of Common Pleas seeking to void the subpoena served by Treasurer Connie Javens and Renee Javens Zuk.

Legal actions being taken by the Beaver Countian come in addition to any motions the commenters may make in court to shield their own identities.

The Beaver Countian is being represented in the matter by Philadelphia attorneys Brian Collins and Mark Gottlieb with the law firm of Offit Kurman.

This is not Treasurer Javens’ first attempt at taking action against a commenter on the Beaver Countian. Back in 2014, Javens tried to have criminal charges filed against a commenter on this website, although those attempts were quashed by then-District Attorney Tony Berosh who instead gave the woman information about the First Amendment.

About The Beaver Countian’s Legal Representation

Founded in the 1980’s in Baltimore, Offit Kurman is now one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the region. The group has a keen understanding of the importance of the intersection of law and technology, having recently expanded their attorneys with technology focused practices including intellectual property, data and cybersecurity, and privacy issues. With 120 attorneys on staff, the firm offers a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category. Offit Kurman’s twelve offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, and New York City metropolitan areas, and markets including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Northern Virginia.

Legal representation for the Beaver Countian was arranged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the world’s leading digital civil rights organization. The EFF was founded in 1990 to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows. The international nonprofit organization champions causes of user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. The EFF is currently leading federal litigation against the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance program.

See:

Editorial: This Is My Sacred Ground From Which I Shall Not Be Moved
Treasurer Connie Javens And Her Daughter File Defamation Lawsuit Against Six Beaver Countian Commenters
Treasurer’s Daughter Lands Lucrative Friendship Ridge Contract
Investigative Report: Money Unilaterally Withdrawn From County Accounts By Treasurer Javens & LaValle Tops $6 Million
Bank Slips Show $3.4 Million Unilaterally Withdrawn By Financial Administrator LaValle & Treasurer Javens
Controller: Treasurer Connie Javens Withdrew $275,000 From County Bank Account Without Authorization
Investigative Report: County Has Not Conducted A Full Audit Of Treasurer Javens’ Office Since 1992
Treasurer Connie Javens Tried To File Criminal Charges Against Commenter
Joe Spanik Calls Out Commissioner Nichols & Treasurer Connie Javens
Dispatch: Shots Fired In Treasurer Connie Javens’ House – Son Under Arrest
County Treasurer’s Son Gets Plea Deal In Firearms And Domestic Violence Case – Pays $100 Fine

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Timmy t
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Timmy t

That’s a tough one. I’m thinking in the end you might have to give it up. The question is libel, not free speech here.

Uncle Wah Wah
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Uncle Wah Wah

There is a lesson here. Opine, but do not accuse. Especially so if you cannot come strong with solid evidence of the accusation. Some of those comments were pretty provocative and you get a bitter accused and a hungry lawyer together and all of a sudden you are in court asking what you based those comments upon.

lifeguard
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lifeguard

In my opinion, the BC6 will be vindicated, if some legal department would ever step up and do a thorough and honest investigation of the treasure’s office. That’s a big IF however. If there is in fact an investigation going on, it sure doesn’t seem like it. It seems like noone is doing shit about it. We don’t see or hear any progress being made. Because of not hearing anything, I get the feeling there is a HUGE cover up going on, and damn near everyone of power in the courthouse is involved. I would think if there actually was someone doing an investigation, they would be able to keep the public informed to some degree without compromising their investigation.

Silence_Dogood
Member
Silence_Dogood

OH NO!! Don’t piss off big, bad Connie! She might sue you!

How do you know when you’re getting close to the truth? When a politician will do whatever it takes to silence you. If she had nothing to hide, she, like any other adult, would just blow off the comments and ignore them. I think she’s got a LOT to hide, and she’ll do whatever she has to to take the onus off her activities. Guess what, Connie. We, the citizens of Beaver County, are pissed off and tired of your games. Hopefully, with the help of the reporting of JP here, we’ll see your ass behind bars REAL soon!

Foundingfather
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Foundingfather

Hey silence, I see your comments on here? No one seems to block your comments like many Javens supporters have been blocked. Innocent until proven guilty is the basis of our legal system. You of all people should support that!

Silence_Dogood
Member
Silence_Dogood

I don’t trust our legal system anymore, especially here in Beaver County. So many politicians are bought and paid for that it’s impossible to believe the outcome of ANY investigations anymore. I lost faith in the system after the disaster that was the trial of George David against JP. To win with the argument, “It’s ok that George pointed his gun at JP unjustly because there was no way to prove it was loaded” was the biggest miscarriage of justice I’d ever seen in my life. If you or I had done that, we’d be in prison, long since forgotten about. But when you’re a member of the political elites here in Beaver County, you can pretty much murder someone, and as long as you’ve greased enough palms on your political rise, you’ll get away with it.

Until and unless Connie is investigated by an outside agency that can’t be influenced by the political elites here in the county, I refuse to believe the outcome of the investigation. I know for a fact that, despite there being unilateral transactions, checks signed by ONLY Connie when we have laws that are supposed to prevent that, that say that checks can only be cashed when signed by Connie AND the County Commissioners, checks that are into the millions of dollars now, she will be found “Not Guilty” IF she even gets charged with anything.

I have to wonder, why is it that you are not more upset about this? If you pay taxes, this should INFURIATE you! Even the IDEA of impropriety, that your tax dollars are going into someone else’s pockets, should anger you beyond belief. I know it angers me. I don’t mind paying my taxes to make sure that our schools are funded, that our roads are taken care of, that we have beautiful parks in the county; but the thought that my tax dollars could be getting funneled into somone’s pockets, that they’re not going where they’re supposed to be going, I’m at a loss for words.

Honestly, I do believe that people are innocent until proven guilty; but JP here is digging up a LOT of dirt on her right now. Dirt that SHOULD have been caught by members of the county, the people that are SUPPOSED to be running the show, NOT an investigative reporter. It’s ONLY because JP loves this county and is willing to do the dirty work that our elected officials refuse to do that problems like this are being brought to light. And honestly, Connie isn’t doing herself any favors with this defamation lawsuit.

When you’re an elected official, you’re going to get criticized. You’re going to get called names. You’re going to get accused of things by your detractors. It’s how you handle them that shows what kind of person you are. Like I’d said before, if she didn’t have anything to hide, she would have just brushed off the comments and said, “Screw them! Who cares what they have to say!?” Instead, she decided to try and silence these people, lending more credibility to what they’re saying. I truly believe that a politician will only attempt to silence you when you’re getting too close to exposing them and threatening their political careers.

Silence_Dogood
Member
Silence_Dogood

And as far as my comments being blocked or not: I don’t control that. I say what I have to say. What happens after I hit “Post Comment” is out of my hands. JP is VERY good about allowing pretty much everyone to have a voice here. There have only been a small handful of people that I’ve seen claim to have their comments blocked on here. So for you to make the remark like it’s my fault that my comments are visible on here, you’re barking up the wrong tree. If you have issue with what comments are and are not visible, you need to talk to JP about that, not me.

Misterc John
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Misterc John

i have a feeling that there are many people out there, who stand behind you 100%. keep up the good work.

Gordon Chandler
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Gordon Chandler

A John Boehner face with a chicken skin neck, what a combo.

BC Dude
Guest
BC Dude

Crooked politicians must not prevail…..PROTECT THE BC-6 !!!