Plaintiffs, lawyer in free speech case want day in court

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Eight anti-war protestors bringing a free speech case against a West Point official say they still haven?t had their day in court due to delays.

In Feb. of 2004, Nick Mottern, Sandra Dolman and six other Hudson Valley residents were kicked out of an Army-Navy basketball game for wearing T-shirts that spelled out ?US OUT OF IRAQ.? They were also barred from West Point for five years.

The group hired civil rights attorney Michael Sussman, who filed a free speech suit against J.B. Spisso, the manager of the Army basketball arena at the time. In the latest development, the U.S. Attorney?s Office has requested the litigation be put on hold because Spisso is being deployed to Afghanistan.

?If he wants to go to Afghanistan, all well and good. But he shouldn't be able to go at the derogation of the rights of others. That's my feeling,? Sussman says. His clients agree. They say it?s not fair for the government to delay their case.

The U.S. Attorney's Office isn't commenting, except to confirm it is seeking a hold on the case. Though the request was made, the judge in the case still hasn't decided whether or not to grant the delay.

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