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PPO granted against new Chair of Livingston County GOP

A Personal Protection Order (PPO) has been issued against the newly elected head of the Livingston County Republican Party by a Brighton woman who says she has been harassed and her family threatened.

Jennifer Smith was elected as Chair of the Livingston County GOP in December. Smith, who headed up the local Moms for Liberty chapter and is an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, had made headlines throughout the pandemic for her contentious advocacy against masks and vaccines.

In a petition filed October 31st with the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, and granted the same day, the Brighton woman said Smith had become “extremely fixated” on her after she reported Smith to the FBI following her comments at a Brighton Area Schools Board of Education meeting in which Smith threatened members during a discussion over mask usage and quarantining students.

“We’re coming for you,” said Smith. “Take it as a threat. Call the FBI. I don’t care. You’re all either going to be recalled or we’re all coming for you. That’s what’s happening.”

Smith did end up being visited by an FBI agent, whom she told “she was upset about the school board’s mask mandates and that her statement was a warning that her organization would seek to replace the school board with new members through the electoral process.”

However, the petitioner that since that since Smith “was investigated as a domestic terrorist by the FBI, she has become extremely fixted on me,” including that on at least two occasions in May and June of 2022 “she pointed out in public forums that I would be or often was alone. Again, the only purpose for making comments like that is to encourage people to harass me or to put me in fear for my own safety.”

She also alleged that at least twice Smith revealed her home address online , the purpose of which was “to scare me and to encourage people to harass me and my family.”

“In fact, we have been harassed,” the petition stated. “In May I had people come into my yard twice and try to take my dog. On May 10th we had people parked across the street from our house taking photos and videos of our house. Someone came onto my property and cut the cords on my outdoor lights. I’ve had to have security cameras installed around my entire home.”

She further alleged that on July 12, 2022 she was in her yard gardening when Smith drove by her house.

“She flipped me off as her husband screamed at me out the window of their car,” said the petitioner. “I made a post in a private group about the incident. Ms. Smith immediately began making posts claiming she feared for her safety and the safety of her family from her crazy stalker. I was at my own home.”

The Brighton woman said that Smith had also made posts about her business and her employment in an effort to actively get people to harass her and her employer.

“She has a history of this type of conduct,” said the petitioner. “To further incite harassment against me, Ms. Smith has made unfounded, public claims that I was stalking, threatening and harassing her children and that she feared for her safety. She stated in public posts that I ruined her life, got her husband fired from his job, and lost her children their health insurance. I never did any of that. All of those posts were attempts to stir up outrage to further incentivize people to harass me.”

The woman said she hoped Smith’s “fixation” on her would subside, but that it had not.

“Ms. Smith continues, through her various online pseudonyms, to make posts about me and to make references to my home address,” she alleged. “During the last three weeks, she has written multiple “op-eds” for her blog The Livingston Lantern again making allegations that I am stalking and harassing her and pointing people to my home. As recently as October 29, 2022 she sent 7 unsolicited messages to me. They talk about how it’s my fault if I’m getting harassed because my address was used on a website. Again, the website doesn’t use my name in any way. She keeps pointing out that it’s my home address publicly. The only reason to do that is to be encouraging people to harass me.”

The petitioner said that since the harassment began, she has developed a stress related tremor in her hand and had been seen by her doctor for heart palpitations.

“I certainly do not want to be asking the court for a PPO,” she told the court. “I’ve tried to avoid this situation coming to this. Unfortunately, Ms. Smith’s behavior is becoming more and more erratic. Her fixation on me as a person, my home, and my family has escalated to a point where I do not feel safe in my home. My teenage daughter is scared to go into our yard.”

She concluded by asking the court to grant an order ex parte, citing the “escalating attacks on me publicly and the recent round of publicly pointing people to my home address. my personal safety and the safety of my family.”

Smith’s attorney, Kristina Lyke, told the Livingston Daily that her client has filed for a termination of the order, citing incorrect jurisdiction, as both women live in Livingston County, as well as because Smith alleges that it was her being harassed by the petitioner.

A hearing on the termination motion is set for Jan. 26.

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