The crazy case of Crystal Cox

Forbes on a disgusting case of internet extortion:

Crystal Cox, a Montana woman who calls herself an “investigative journalist” was slapped with a $2.5-million judgment last year for defaming an investment firm and one of its lead partners. Cox had taken control of the Google footprint of Obsidian Finance and its principal Kevin Padrick by writing hundreds of posts about them on dozens of websites she owned, inter-linking them in ways that made them rise up in Google search results; it ruined Obsidian’s business due to prospective clients being put off by the firm’s seemingly terrible online reputation. After Obsidian sued Cox, she contacted them offering her “reputation services;” for $2,500 a month, she could “fix” the firm’s reputation and help promote its business. (In some circles, we call that  ”extortion.”)

Nonetheless, when the outrageously high judgment came down, some bloggers rushed to Cox’s defense, in great part because the judge declared Cox not to be a member of the media in a poorly-written opinion that some interpreted to mean that bloggers generally couldn’t claim legal protections for members of the press. So First Amendment-loving lawyers, including Eugene Volokh of the Volokh Conspiracy and Matthew Zimmerman at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, offered Cox their services in appealing the case and attempting to get a new trial. (They were denied this week, with the judge clarifying that bloggers can be journalists, but that Cox is a serial harasser, not a journalist.) Another lawyer, Marc Randazza had also spoken with Cox about her case; after deciding not to work with him, Cox sent him an email letting him know that she “needed to make money” and was willing to offer him her reputation management services. In fact, she had already bought his domain name — marcrandazza.com. …

[…]

She bought the domain name for Marc’s wife, Jennifer Randazza (and has already started dominating her first page of Google results with her hyperbolic posts). When Randazza still wouldn’t buy her services, Cox moved on to a younger member of the family:

“When this didn’t get the desired response, Cox turned to a place where even the lowest of the low would not stoop — she focused her stalkerish attention on my three-year-old daughter and registered NataliaRandazza.com.” [emphasis added]

Via Ken at Popehat, who has been all over this story.  Randazza’s blog is here.

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2 thoughts on “The crazy case of Crystal Cox

  1. I first heard about this woman via an interview with Zimmerman on NPR’s podcast On the Media. A few seconds of watching her is enough for any reasonable person to see she is very disturbed.

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