Subpoena Served in 10th District

Yesterday in Kinston just after lunch Fred Riggs, owner of Rustikat Internet Services, was served dessert in the form of a subpoena ordering him to present documents which will identify the owner of the anonymous fake Van Braxton web site. Riggs has until the close of business Friday to deliver the documents to the State Board of Elections in Raleigh.

Rustikat Internet Services hosts the fake site, several Republican websites including that of Republican Willie Ray Starling and numerous web sites owned by Ted Sampley known for outlandish attacks on public figures locally and nationally and for physically attacking John McCain's co-writer. Republican Steven LaRoque also pays Riggs for banner advertising.

To date neither Starling nor LaRoque, who both have business with Rustikat and a Republican primary to run against Democrat Van Braxton, have spoken out against the anonymous site which violates state election laws. One suspect is Sampley, who has a history of creating parody websites hosted by Rustikat and antagonism towards Braxton.

Another suspect emerging is BJ Murphy a Republican and sidekick of Ted Sampley. Murphy had a website (now defunct) hosted by Rustikat, from his failed run against Mayor Buddy Ritch who is also lampooned on the anonymous fake website. The fake website also makes reference to the "Backroom Boys" incident. This was a fabrication by Murphy, Sampley and others intended to discredit Ritch. Writer Lee Raynor was fired from the Kinston Free Press for her part in plotting against Ritch. Raynor went to work with Riggs on his internet based Kinston Press.

Murphy has been a spokesperson for Sampley's projects and has worked directly with him selling t-shirts and trinkets, managing the Broken Eagle restaurant while Sampley was co-owner. Murphy married the daughter of Jan Barwick, Sampley's then girlfriend and co-owner of the restaurant making Murphy a son-in-law of sorts. Murphy helped create the CSS Neuse II web site.

While Executive Director of Pride of Kinston Murphy wrote the grant application to Golden Leaf for $65,000 for Sampley's CSS Neuse II project. The grant was awarded to Pride but never forwarded to CSS Neuse II because of Board disagreement over Sampley's control of the project. The grant was eventually returned to the Golden Leaf Foundation. Shortly after Stephen LaRoque reapplied for the same grant on Sampley's behalf but was turned down. Both LaRoque and Murphy have made contributions to each others campaigns.

This story is an ongoing collaboration between myself and Southern Dem. Please stayed tuned to both blogs for the latest and nastiest details.

Previous stories:
The Tactics of Ted Sampley: Manipulations, Madness & Manure
Loitering within 10th


the dirt thickens...

keep it up.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Excellent Greg

Someone on the message board said that the Pride Board just ruled the web site didn't violate state law. The Pride Board? Do they have jurisdiction?

Click on the hat to see all Citizen Journalist files

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Pride comes before a fall

Pride agreed to give CSS Neuse II the land for $1 yesterday but that's about it.


That was a joke. Pride is planning to give Sampley the land on which his "boat" sits. He intimidated them into giving him the land. He seems to be bulletproof as far as Kinston politics goes.

Great reporting...great work

Do either of you get ANY sleep? Read once that Einstein only took catnaps throughout the day.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

The curtain parts

and what's behind it is NOT purdy.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


Adding this observation from Charlie Kraebel's blog at Kinston Free Press:

In case it’s not clear, investigators are looking at these sections of General Statute 163-274 to see if there are any violations:

(7) For any person to publish in a newspaper or pamphlet or otherwise, any charge derogatory to any candidate or calculated to affect the candidate’s chances of nomination or election, unless such publication be signed by the party giving publicity to and being responsible for such charge;

(8) For any person to publish or cause to be circulated derogatory reports with reference to any candidate in any primary or election, knowing such report to be false or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity, when such report is calculated or intended to affect the chances of such candidate for nomination or election;

Violating this statute is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Anonymity - Burn the village to save the community?

First, this is no defense of Sampley's notoriously bad behavior (which I've heard about for years).

But... I think, as a lay person (IANAL as the kids say), the statutes above are unenforceable. The best way to counter this crud is to shine light on it - to ridicule and rebut - not to limit the offensive speech.

Why? Anonymity (or pseudo-anon) on the 'net is an incredibly powerful tool for progressive change (think China). The Electronic Frontier Foundation's coverage is fairly good on why we want to tread carefully when limiting free expression - even if that fee expression is excremental.

As they say:

Anonymous communications have an important place in our political and social discourse. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A much-cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

One of the great mistakes the Dems have made in the last decade is to adopt, co-opt and extend the tools of intolerance and tyranny to appear more centrist. For instance, their cowardice in supporting the Patriot Act though it violated so many of the bedrock principles that (should) make the Dems so strong.

So, maybe some jubilation is called for because a nasty piece of work is finally getting his due. But my elation is muted because the means are anti-thetical to the greater ends.

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class


Good one, Will.

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

It'll also be interesting to see if North Carolina media decide to shine the light on Sampley. For such a notorious operator, there's been precious little reporting on this guy.

interesting question

Thats a very interesting question. I personally feel that if people feel the need to voice their views anomously then they dont have FREE speech. But, interesting question anyway.

However, in this case it is a bunch of lies, so is there a need to protect someones ability to lie and slander without recourse?

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

Et tu Publius?

Do you think citizen's in the U.S. are "free"? Sure, we have some freedoms but many of those are being incrementally curtailed on an almost daily basis (freedom to travel without being felt-up comes to mind).

Anonymous speech was key to this Republic's founding - its necessity, unfortunately, will never dissipate. There's a reason the Bush league is working on tapping ALL communications.

Greg's done a lot of the MSM's footwork by building the (tight) circumstantial case for Sampley's involvement. Now, as Anglico notes, getting the wider press to expose the lies is the trick.

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class


But there is a big difference between speech being free of government monitoring and sending out mailings about politics is there not?

Lyndon Helton for NC Senate

"Keep the Faith"

True, to some extent...

The same "online protections" that shield you from governmental snooping also shield your private communications. To remove one, removes the other.

Hey, I'm no expert - just trying to feel my way through this morass of competing demands. Communications is so integral to the political process I tend to err "liberally" on the side of maximizing throughput.

Let's prognosticate a second. One reason we have these rules is that broadbased communication methods - snail mail, newspapers, television, radio - are monolithic entities. These nearly de facto monopolies charge a pretty penny for communications because that's what today's public tunes into...

What happens 10-20 years from now when the 'net subsumes television, radio, newspapers - and aggregation mellows the influence of even staid outlets like BlueNC? When the means of production fall to a price that the merest pamphleteer can compete with the national parties (that is, if we maintain net neutrality)?

What will the election laws covering communications look like then? And will anonymity survive?

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

I'm all for the 'marketplace of ideas'

but right now that marketplace is conflated with the 'marketplace of money.' The playing field isn't yet level.

Really rich people can buy a lot of influence. Companies can too.

(I'm not linking this to anonymity yet, just saying.)

Is there ever a level playing field? Probably not. I have the luxury of spending way too much time blogging. That gives me some intangible advantage (or maybe disadvantage :) ) along some dimension over a person working 60 hours a week in two part-time jobs.

Anonymity is like guerilla warfare. It may be the only viable course in the face of well funded and monolithic competitors.


Anonymity has its purposes but in the case of elections there is great danger for abuse. The identification requirement puts a damper on egregious speech but it does not abridge free speech.

By intercepting internet search engine results for Van Braxtons with stolen code the fake site not only treads on copyright law but also abridges the free speech of Van Braxton and provides impediments to voters.

Google will remove sites shown to be violating copyright from search results. It is a tedious process and the removal requests are posted for public view.

What if a fake site were the work of a corporation (commercial or non-profit), domestic or foreign or even a foreign government. I have no problem with the site as long as stolen code is removed and the author/owner is identified.

Poor Richard

Ben Franklin wrote his share of anonymous material, or at least under a psedo name. But, it was not campaign material. And, it was thinly disguised.

"Somebody" was simply looking for web presence for Van Braxton and searched for it. Come to find out, there's a unidentified faux site with somewhat silly but even alarming content. I'm not young nor am i naive, but what I found was scary. Hop on to Van's real site and let's help him get a seat in the House.


Thanks for bringing it to our attention in the first place. It's been really interesting to drill down for the truth.