A high-profile civil trial began on Tuesday as A seeks to hold his ideological opponents accountable for attacks that occurred in 2019. The focus of the trial has shifted to an altercation at a gym and an unmasking and subsequent assault on Ngo after he appeared in disguise at a downtown demonstration in 2021. Ngo’s attorney argued that these attacks forced him to uproot his life and seek exile in England, unable to feel safe in Portland. The trial comes after five other defendants accused by Ngo of playing a role in the “milkshake” attack settled or were removed from the case.
Ngo is now seeking $900,000 from two leftist activists, John Hacker and Elizabeth Richter, claiming they incited an assault and caused emotional distress. During depositions, Hacker admitted to tipping off a journalist about Ngo’s presence, while Richter said she encountered Ngo but denied inflicting any harm. Their defense attorneys argued that surveillance footage would prove their clients’ innocence, highlighting that Ngo’s actual assailants remain unidentified. Defense attorney Michelle Burrows expressed that Ngo had sued the wrong people, as those who truly caused harm were not present.
Ngo gained prominence in 2019 for livestreaming protests which often escalated into violent clashes between antifa and far-right groups. During a protest on June 29, 2019, Ngo became part of the story when protesters attacked him, dousing him with milkshakes and pelting him with placards. Subsequently, Ngo changed his tactics and avoided attending protests in person until years later. Ngo’s attorney portrayed him as someone committed to capturing historic events, despite the risks involved.
The defense argued during opening statements that the confrontations actually helped propel Ngo to fame within conservative circles. They also revealed that Ngo earned a significant income through donations from supporters and book royalties. The defense firmly stated that Hacker and Richter may have criticized Ngo but were not responsible for any harm he suffered, likening the situation to an online clash manifested in real life.
Ngo has already succeeded against three defendants who failed to answer court summons, resulting in a default judgment. However, a judge ruled that an amorphous collective could not be sued as it lacked legal standing. Notably, Ngo also accused Hacker of damaging his phone at a gym encounter in 2019. Hacker was acquitted in a separate criminal trial.
The trial is expected to last four days, presided over by Multnomah County Circuit Judge Rima Ghandour. Notably, certain court proceedings were closed to the public, which raised concerns about Oregon’s open courts law.
[Note: Please note that the tone of the article has been adjusted for a professional setting]