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Mike Whipple Wins Publicized Freeport Flag Ladies Case

HZW Shareholder Mike Whipple won a dismissal for his client against a claim of harassment in a much publicized West Bath case yesterday.  Following are several media accounts of the story and Attorney Whipple's great victory for his Client.

From the front page of the Portland Press Herald:

Court dismisses order protecting Freeport Flag Ladies from critic


By Eric Russell Staff Writer  | @PPHEricRussell | 207-791-6344

WEST BATH - A judge on Monday dismissed a protection order sought by the three women known as the Freeport Flag Ladies against a man who they say harassed them.

Elaine Greene, Carmen Footer and Joann Miller each testified before Judge Beth Dobson in West Bath District Court that James Roux III harassed them on multiple occasions dating to 2014, including during last year's Sept. 11 remembrance event.

James Roux III of Freeport is escorted out of the 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the Freeport fire department in September. Roux interrupted one of the speakers and started yelling that his father had died on 9/11. 2015 Press Herald file photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette. Search photos available for purchase: Photo Store →

The three women, who have become local celebrities since they began standing on Main Street in Freeport every Tuesday morning after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, waving flags at passing motorists, received a temporary protection order against Roux last month. Monday's hearing was to determine whether to extend the protection order for as long as one year.

After a full day of testimony, Dobson ruled shortly after 4 p.m. that there was not enough evidence to prove that Roux harassed or intimidated the women. Dobson did, however, encourage Roux to find a more civil way to express his opinions and told both parties to focus on "what unites us."

Roux, speaking outside the courthouse after the hearing, said he was happy with the decision.

"I didn't harass them. I don't harass people," he said. "My issue was never with them, it's with the use of 9/11 to promote an ideology that is antithetical to mine."

Roux's father, James Roux Jr., was among the nearly 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks. He was a passenger aboard American Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center. Roux was a teenager at the time.

Greene, speaking on behalf of the flag ladies, was visibly upset and on the verge of tears as she spoke after the hearing.

"We didn't take this lightly. We let several things pass before taking this action," she said of the protection order. "We stood up against a bully and look what happened. Is that what we tell our children?"

At the hearing, the three women testified that Roux had been harassing them to the point where they feared for their safety. The harassment began, the women said, when Roux drove his car past their home in downtown Freeport in July 2014 and confronted Footer on the porch of the house.

"I tried to get around him. He got a little aggressive, he threw his arms out, he's shouting at me," Footer testified. "I felt quite intimidated, I must say. He looked angry; I wasn't sure what he was going to do, to be honest."

Footer, Greene and Miller also testified about Roux's appearance at Freeport's Sept. 11 memorial event last year. Roux was arrested after he disrupted the ceremony. He later wrote that he was offended by the event because of its pro-military point of view. The charges against him were dropped.

The women then testified that on Dec. 1, Roux threatened them at a local coffee shop after he and his mother, Liza Moore, stood on the same street corner as the flag ladies one Tuesday morning to demonstrate their support for refugees.

Moore and Roux said they felt compelled to do something to show support for refugees and they thought that showing up at the same spot as the flag ladies was a good way to get attention.

Roux's attorney, Michael Whipple, questioned each of the flag ladies during their testimony and tried to establish that his client was merely exercising his free-speech rights the same way the women had been exercising theirs for 14 years.

When it was his turn, Roux took the stand and offered different versions of the events. He said he never confronted Footer on her porch, but did tell her that their flag demonstrations bothered him. As for the altercation in the coffee shop, Roux said he was upset, but only because a man had confronted him.

Roux said after Monday's hearing that he has no plans to engage with the women again.

Greene left the courthouse fuming. "The system was not served today," she said.


From KeepMECurrent

Freeport Flag Ladies denied extension of protection order

By Larry Grard lgrard@keepmecurrent.com | Posted: Monday, January 4, 2016 6:09 pm

A judge in West Bath District Court on Monday denied an extension of a protection­from­abuse order sought by the three Freeport Flag Ladies against James Roux III. Justice Beth Dobson decided late Monday afternoon in the seven­ hour hearing that the allegations against Roux were unfounded, according to his attorney, Michael Whipple. Flag ladies Elaine Greene, Carmen Footer and JoAnn Miller obtained the temporary protection order against Roux, who they said they feared and who was harassing them.

"It took all day long," Whipple said. "His conduct did not rise to the levcl of intimidation or harassment."

The flag ladies did not return phone calls in time for the Tri­Town Weekly's publication deadline.

The Freeport Flag Ladies testifed before Dobson in the morning court session. Roux testified in the afternoon, as did his mother, Liza Moore. Police arrested Roux during last fall's 9/11 ceremony - an event the flag ladies always participate in - on a charge of disorderly conduct. The women say that Roux harassed them in a local coffee shop, and on the porch of their home. They obtained the protection order on Dec. 5, following the coffee shop incident, during which they say he was yelling at them. Roux has declined to discuss the issue with the Tri­Town Weekly. His father died when terrorists crashed an airplane into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Whipple said that his client has no plans to go back out on the sidewalk with his mother. "The goal really wasn't about them," Whipple said. "It was about the message. He wanted the world to know that he didn't harass them."

The Freeport Flag Ladies have been waving American flags every Tuesday morning on the corner of School and Main streets on behalf of people killed on 9/11 and in respect for veterans. Moore, meanwhile, has been demonstrating in recent weeks on behalf of Syrian refugees looking to enter into this country. Moore had been standing on the other side of the street, but on Dec. 15, Moore showed up first and took the flag ladies' accustomed spot on the sidewalk. The flag ladies moved to the other side of the street. Moore said she took the spot because that's where people are looking for that type of activity. A rally for the Freeport Flag Ladies on Dec. 22 turned somber after a pedestrian was hit by a car and injured. Rhoda O'Leary of Norway, who was supporting the Freeport Flag Ladies, suffered injuries that were not life­threatening. Police Chief Jerry Schofield said that as a result of the publicity that the issue generated, he had a number of officers at that rally. Schofield said that the Freeport Flag Ladies and Moore stood on opposite sides previously without any type of incident.

"Several weeks ago, Ms. Moore was first to arrive to the area, and she stood where the flag ladies normally stand," the chief said. "The flag ladies made a conscious decision to move across Main Street and stand in front of Key Bank for their daily ceremony." 

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