Judge tosses commentators’ challenge to Ohio harassment ban

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a constitutional challenge to an Ohio law against internet harassment brought by a group of liberal and conservative online political commentators.

Akron-based U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi found late last month that a liberal blog, a county Tea Party organization and a freelance political reporter who brought the suit faced no credible threat of prosecution and therefore lacked the standing to sue.

Plaintiffs were weighing an appeal.

At issue is a 2016 state law that prohibits knowingly posting text, audio statements or images on a website “for the purpose of abusing … or harassing another person.”

The commentators had argued their frequent use of “invective, ridicule and strong language” against politicians could have subjected them to penalties under the law.