University of Chicago Professor Accuses Colorado Law Professor Of Threatening Him With Embarrassing Disclosures in Leong Controversy

camposLeiterBrianWe have been discussing the effort of University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong to have the Illinois bar punish an anonymous poster called “Dybbuk” who criticized her on a blog as well as other female law professors. Now, University of Chicago Professor Brian Leiter (right) has added a rather bizarre twist to this story on his blog. Professor Leiter says that Professor Paul F. Campos (left) has threatened him not to reveal the identity of the poster targeting Nancy Leong with the disclosure of unspecified embarrassing information on Leiter. [Update: Professor Campos has responded]

Leiter published the following e-mail that he says came from Campos:

From: Paul F Campos [mailto:paul.campos@Colorado.EDU]

Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 11:03 AM

To: Leiter, Brian

Subject: Dybbuk


I have been asked by somebody who has passed on (unsolicited) some potentially very embarrassing personal information about you to me, regarding your activities in cyberspace and some related goings-on in the real world, to make this information public, should you choose to “out” Dybbuk.


Leiter has had a history of angry exchanges with Campos, who he accused of supporting cyber-harassment and sexism.

This is a very serious allegation and there is no confirmation that Campos sent the email or that it was not meant sent in jest or for ironic emphasis. Leiter has raised the question of possible criminal elements of blackmail or intimidation or extortion. He later notes, as suggested by a supporter, that the email could contravene the following statutory provision: “A person commits intimidation when, with intent to cause another to perform or to omit the performance of any act, he or she communicates to another, directly or indirectly by any means, a threat to perform without lawful authority any of the following acts…(3) Expose any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule….”

He notes that there is no evidence that Dybbuk put up Campos to make the veiled threat. That could become a matter of inquiry for the bar. It would be an ironic twist since some of us have been critical of the complaint as threatening free speech values. However, he also says that a person posting under the name Dybbuk stated that “I had no prior knowledge of Paul Campos’s alleged [sic] email to Brian Leiter, and do not approve of it.”

I have not see a response from Campos. If this was meant as a threat and shown to have been sent by Campos, it could raise serious ethical questions for him with his own bar and with his faculty. One can debate the criminality of the communication, but it certainly contravenes principles of ethical and professional conduct to threaten people with embarrassing disclosures if they make information public. While there is a basis to criticize the stripping of anonymity in such a case, it is not a crime for Leiter to do so and, since it is based on public information, it is not likely a violation of privacy laws. Conversely, this alleged threat is tied to an ongoing ethics complaint and seeking to force silence through the threat of harmful or embarrassing disclosures. Of course, Campos could argue that he is only demonstrating the unfair nature of Leiter’s very public debate over whether to “out” the poster in the Leong dispute.

What do you think?

Source: Leiter

Kudos: John Banzhaf

45 thoughts on “University of Chicago Professor Accuses Colorado Law Professor Of Threatening Him With Embarrassing Disclosures in Leong Controversy”

  1. Sure, Paul. Couldn’t even let an hour pass before replying, could you, “big boy”?

    As I said a couple of days ago, this always seems to happen when the Leiter stalkers come out.

  2. Just to follow up. There are two options.

    1) Brian Leiter ALWAYS posts using his own name.
    2) Brian Leiter SOMETIMES posts pseudonymously.

    There is overwhelming evidence that 1 is false and 2 is true.

    In this particular case, having carefully reviewed what BW wrote, I strongly believe that BW is in fact Brian Leiter posting pseudonymously. I don’t expect him to admit it. I will never have proof that it is so. But it’s pathetic. Grown up. By all means, do battle with the scambloggers (I’m not one of them) if that’s what you want to do. But don’t lie, don’t misrepresent, don’t smear. Try to be a big boy.

  3. No, Brian. Zipser isn’t Campos. Campos posts under his own name. Thanks for playing. Have a good night.

  4. This is great, no crazy thread about Leiter is ever complete without someone claiming that anyone who disagrees with obsessed anonymous cyber-stalkers must be Leiter, since of course no one ever disagrees with them, except one lawprof at Chicago. In case anyone is confused ‘here’=’zipser’=Campos. Right?

  5. BW = Brian Leiter, in case anyone was confused by that.

    In case anyone else is confused (aside from Brian Leiter), Campos is forthwith in posting honestly under his own name and taking responsibility and standing behind the things he says (and what he believes), and Leiter has been trying to smear Campos for 2.5 years with his off-the-wall vitriolic animus, all of it filled with gross misrepresentation, and often times outright lies.

    He thinks that if he repeats his lies enough times that they’ll somehow become ‘true’ in the eyes of the internet – and maybe that will happen if everyone else doesn’t stand up to refute him and his hordes of sock puppets.

    He’s a pathetic human being, and it would be really nice for everyone if he just ceased his debased shenanigans.

  6. This exchange between Leiter and Campos is absolutely embarrassing. It feels as if what we have here is dueling out of control egos. It amazes me, that with all of the problems we have in the US and globally, that these two guys are involved in such theatrics. I feel as if we are dealing with adolescent boys who (a) have too much time on their hands and (b) believe erroneously that they are all that. My suggestion, they need a “time out,” and we need to stop reading this drivel and get on with real work. Enough already.

  7. An element of the crime set out in the ILL statute is that the indimidator must threaten “to perform without lawful authority”.

    Anyone know how “without lawful authority” is defined?

    Do you need “lawful authority” to pass along (or make more fully public) information you have about a person?

  8. Zipser: I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re not “Brian Leiter’s Rotting Teeth” back to make trouble—though you do seem a bit obsessed given how quicky, and how often, you reply. What aren’t you telling us? Are you part of Campos’s odious crew of cyber-harassers?

    The fact is Leiter is out front in attacking scambloggers, including Campos, and so he gets subjected to endless abuse and insults. This is a case in point. There was no actual evidence produced for any of the things you claim (none!), just assertions and speculations by Campos and other anonymous commenters—including the assertions of an alleged hacker! Credible witness! I follow a number of law-related blogs, and this happens periodically. Leiter’s name comes up and then various people, always using pseudonyms, show up to spew poison. For all I know, it’s just one person obsessed with Leiter (is it you, Zipser?). Why don’t you turn Leiter into his Dean, let’s see what happens. I bet the Dean will want some actual evidence of wrong-doing.

    The more interesting question, though, is what Campos’s Dean will do about the apparent blackmail, and whether he will really buy the explanation offered. No one who knows the history of the Campos-Leiter feud could possibly believe that Campos was doing the “decent” thing. Now that’s a relevant “history.” Not that anyone here cares or should care.

  9. @common sense person practice what you preach and shut up.. zipser has a right to speak to his mind.. if you dont like it.. then dont read it….

  10. If you’ve been stalked, file a criminal complaint. Otherwise shut up with your obsession.

  11. Common Sense Person – have you been stalked by Leiter and his pals?

    When you have, you might get an idea of why one of Leiter’s targets would make a point of hitting Leiter and everyone of his cronies every time they present their version of the truth.

  12. Mr. Z seems obsessed! Another cyber-stalker perhaps? Bar complaint? Is he the now famous dybbuk?

  13. BW – I will go further – I am not the “this lawyer” you describe. I am one of numerous others to have been threatened by Brian Leiter after he obtained identity information. He pretty evidently obtained this information from the website where his co-blogger on his own website Dan Filler is the manager. A few months ago a professor/guest blogger on the faculty lounge informed me that the e-mails and IP addresses of posters to that website remain open to all guest bloggers (a situation that persists though Filler promised to fix it.)

    Given that the forum had just a little while earlier run a thread called VAP-Trap to which visiting associate professors had been encouraged to post about their experiences, all while hoping for a tenure track offer – there was considerable consternation at the choice of the Faculty Lounge to make identities so open. They promised to fix that – as of a few weeks ago (and almost a year after the row), vindictive schmucks still have full access.

    As it happens, when Leiter launched into his campaign of sending threatening e-mails, invoking senior partners, managing partners and professors, a number of those who were threatened compared notes and e-mails and zeroed in on the Faculty Lounge as the source of the leaks to Leiter. Campos was involved in that “triangulation,” because many of those sent the threats contacted him and Deborah Merritt and Kyle McEntee Nonetheless, it is absolutely true that Leiter engaged in a campaign of blackmail, of threatening all sorts of lawyers – partners in law firms, public defenders, etc., with disclosing their identities unless they became silent on the issue of law school debt, law school tuition, and the misstatement by law schools of career outcomes.

    BH – you evidently are one of Leiter’s odious little crew. The Leiter style comment is a bit of a giveaway “hey they are anonymous – why should we believe them… make them tell us their names [so I BH can stalk them.]” Have you noticed, you are anonymous too … wonder why?

  14. Leong sounds like the intelligent adult compared to these two, three or how many are there?

  15. As Mespo alluded to earlier, this is some nasty stuff going on in the law school circles! Time for some to grow up maybe??

  16. One of the lawyers to have received threatening e-mails used the half Brian Leiter’s Rotting Teeth – I was not BLRT – several lawyers received threatening e-mails from Leiter.

    Someone (not me) worked out that one of Leiter’s sock puppet pseudonyms was Aduren (Neruda in reverse) and as they posted, hacked an anonymous web-mail account of Leiter under the Aduren handle with the password Neruda (only Leiter thinks he is intelligent.) I am guessing, but not certain, that what the threatening e-mail relayed by Campos referred to is whatever this person found in the Aduren webmail account (or maybe more.) At the time they said that the information (e-mails in and out) made it undeniable that Aduren was Leiter. At a bare guess, Leiter was forwarding drafts to the Aduren account that he then posted as Aduren (and other names.)

    Leiter has also engaged via sock puppets in attacks against fellow profs at Chicago, notably, but not limited to Richard Posner. I am not sure what the e-mailer to Campos has (genuinely), but I suspect it is related to Leiter’s pseudonymous activity in internet fora. It may have to do with law, or philosophy – who knows, but Leiter and the mystery guest.

    Frankly, Campos giving Leiter the “heads-up” was doing the decent thing. My dealings with Leiter have taught me that the decent thing, or decency – is beyond Leiter’s understanding. He genuinely is a low little man.

    And yes he threatened me and others seeking to silence them. When Leiter says that anyone who ” how anyone who criticizes the law school scam bloggers is subjected to abuse” he did not mention the abuse that he has engaged in, or orchestrated – some of which has been pretty outrageous. I will give BW the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he is not one of Leiter’s sock-puppet personas (or Steve Diamond’s), but he needs to know more about the history here.

  17. “Send lawyers, guns and money, the shit has hit the fan.” Warren Zevon

  18. This thread is really going down hill, with anonymous allegations, no supporting evidence, nothing. As I remember it, it was precisely Paul Campos who claimed Leiter had sent a “threatening” e-mail to some lawyer, but even he didn’t claim it was blackmail. He also didn’t produce the e-mail, so we just had to trust Paul, and Leiter said at the time Campos was lying (anyone who cares can search Leter’s blog, it was at least a year ago). And it had nothing to do with discussions of “law school economics.” It turned out this “lawyer” posted all over the law blogs with the handle “Brian Leiter’s Ugly Face” or something equally charming. Hard to imagine why someone might take offense at someone using a handle like that, huh? Leiter had a good Huffington Post column about how anyone who criticizes the law school scam bloggers is subjected to abuse: Leiter has been out front on this, so….

  19. I am one of several lawyers I know of, who received e-mails from Brian Leiter telling me that he had my e-mail, my IP address and threatening consequences if I continued to post on law school economics topics, including publishing my name and contacting unspecified people.

    Leiter is pretty hypocritical here. I certainly saw his e-mail as clear blackmail threat as did all I forwarded it to. It is nice that Leiter now sees this as a discipline issue for a law school – maybe I’ll contact the Dean of Chicago….

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