VERIFY: Did Kathy Griffin break the law with beheading photo?

VERIFY: Did Kathy Griffin break the law with beheading photo?

If there's one thing most Americans can agree on in these days of division, it's probably that comedian Kathy Griffin's decision to post a picture of her holding a severed head that looks like President Trump was an extremely bad idea. 

There are even those who feel she should be arrested for what some see as an implied threat against the leader of our country. 

The controversy made us curious, and we set out to VERIFY... did Griffin in fact break the law?

KARE 11 spoke with a University of  Minnesota Law Professor who specializes in free speech -- Heidi Kitrosser -- who believes it is clear Griffin's speech 'is' protected under the first amendment. To be "unprotected" -- it would have to be a true threat, and that threat-- would have to put a reasonable person in fear for their life.
     
Expert sources cited in a number of major media sources, including USA Today, shared Kitrosser's take on the situation. "People are allowed to wish the president dead", up to the point they express a real intent to harm him, Stanford  Law professor Nathaniel Persily stated. "To threaten someone you need words that encourage some sort of action," and those words are absent in Griffin's photo, he opined.

SOURCES:

-U of M Law Professor Heidi Kitrosser

-Stanford University Law Professor Nathaniel Persily

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© 2017 KARE-TV


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