On the same day a Scottsdale judge issued a warrant for the arrest of alt-right troll Baked Alaska, Scottsdale City Court began receiving unusual court filings.
"Please throw my case out.yoba[sic]," read the first emailed motion to dismiss a criminal case against Alaska, whose real name is Anthime Joseph Gionet.
"Free my [n-word] tim alaska," read the next submission, in part.
Gionet is currently facing misdemeanor assault, disorderly conduct, and trespassing charges in the court after he pepper-sprayed a bouncer in December. The case earned renewed attention this month after he participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, joining the mob who invaded Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office. Both incidents were well-documented on video, which is unsurprising because Gionet has sought to earn a living by sharing interactive live video of his exploits, known as livestreams.
After being banned from most social media platforms, Gionet still attracts a fan base drawn by his promotion of alt-right ideology and his confrontational content. He marched with white supremacists at Charlottesville and hung out with neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin. The Scottsdale bouncer was only the latest person he's maced.
Gionet's fans, who seem to root both for his success and for him to implode for their amusement, have followed his court case closely, sharing screenshots of his case status from the Scottsdale court's website. On January 14, prosecutors sought to revoke his release over his presence at the Capitol, and a warrant was issued for his arrest when he didn't show for a hearing. That day, his fans seem to have realized they could use the website to submit online motions to the court.
In the week following, the court received 302 such motions, city spokesperson Kelly Corsette said.
"Nearly all were 'SPAM' consisting in many cases of racial epithets or similar derogatory or inflammatory comments," Corsette said in an email.
One, submitted on January 15, is comprised simply of the slogan "TRUMP2024" repeated for 15 pages.
"**THIS MOTION WAS SUBMITTED 202 CONSECUTIVE TIMES," wrote a records clerk on a copy of the motion provided to Phoenix New Times through a public records request.
Another, which consisted of 22 pages of ejaculating penis emojis, was submitted 21 consecutive times.
Court executive secretary Jennifer Ilten said the portal Gionet's fans took advantage of is usually used by people without an attorney who want to submit motions asking for more time in their court case or to upload proof that they completed a court-ordered program. This was the first time she's seen it abused, she said.
"I've been with the court nearly five years. I've never seen that before," she said.
Some of the motions reviewed by New Times reference a Reddit replica for fans of alt-right live streamers known as IP2 Always Wins, a site where many of Gionet's fans have congregated, and it seems likely that members of the site may have coordinated the spam campaign.
Corsette said the volume of abusive messages swamped court staff and slowed down their ability to process legitimate incoming motions. As a result, the court took the rare step of removing Gionet's case from its search function last Thursday, he said.
Information about the case can still be found on the court's online calendar; the Arizona Supreme Court's case lookup, which is updated once a week; or by filing a records request that costs $17 minimum.
Daniel Barr, an attorney who has written the book on media access to public records in Arizona, said that it was fine for courts to take some steps to prevent abuse, such as removing the case listing from the city court site.
“We just can’t allow our systems to be abused," he said. "It’s another example of how so much of our system of government ... is depending on people using it for proper purposes and acting in good faith.”
The motions are not all supportive of Gionet. Some ask for a longer sentence for him on unserious grounds, but they make it clear that his fans see his legal entanglements as an entertaining new chapter in Gionet's nihilistic reality show.
Gionet dodged doing additional jail time in Scottsdale after someone named Aaron Joseph Lester paid his $3,000 bond in full, but his game took another serious turn when he was arrested on January 16 in Houston by the FBI. The Department of Justice charged him with entering a restricted building without proper authorization on January 6 and "violent entry and disorderly conduct" on the Capitol's ground.
Federal court records show Gionet posted $50,000 for bail on January 19. He may now living at the Queen Creek house listed in Scottsdale court records; county property records show that it is owned by his parents.
Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bart Graves said that the agency is holding off sending criminal damage charges against Gionet to prosecutors for review. Graves said that the department would wait to send the potential charges, which are in connection to a vandalized Hanukah display at the Arizona Capitol, until they saw the disposition of the federal case.
For Gionet's fans however, the biggest question is whether he will be able to continue live-streaming his antics. A recent federal court hearing of Gionet's was rebroadcast by another streamer. In the real-time comments on the stream, viewers posted memes about what was happening in court, questioned which lawyers were Jewish and Black, hurled abuse at a female prosecutor — and speculated about how his release conditions would affect the content he could make.
Gionet's local attorney, Zach Thornley, did not respond to voice message or email Monday morning. Gionet's next appearance in the Scottsdale case is scheduled for February 25 at 11:30 a.m.
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