February 7, 2022

Rokita sued over barring journalist from press conferences


Attorney General Todd Rokita (pictured) barred longtime political writer Abdul-Hakim Shabazz from his press conferences. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Attorney General Todd Rokita (pictured) barred longtime political writer Abdul-Hakim Shabazz from his press conferences.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

The ACLU of Indiana is suing Attorney General Todd Rokita, alleging he’s violating the First Amendment.

For the last few months, Rokita has barred Abdul-Hakim Shabazz from attending his press conferences. Shabazz is a longtime Indiana political commentator and writer, which includes running the website Indy Politics.

Rokita claims Shabazz is not a “real” journalist, calling him a gossip columnist. Shabazz has long had media credentials that give him access to the state government buildings in downtown Indianapolis.

The ACLU is suing Rokita on Shabazz’s behalf, arguing the state’s highest legal authority is in “clear violation” of the First Amendment.

The complaint released Monday also said Rokita’s animosity towards Shabazz goes back to 2018, when Rokita objected to him moderating a U.S. Senate primary debate that Rokita was participating in, calling Shabazz a “liberal” media figure. Shabazz is widely considered to have a conservative bent.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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