Judge Makes Temporary Ruling About Alamogordo Billboard
POSTED: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 5:31pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 11:51pm
EL PASO - Should it stay, or should it go? That's the decision a judge had to make today about a controversial billboard in Alamogordo.
A man named Greg Fultz put the billboard up on one of the busiest roads in Alamogordo, publicly accusing his ex-girlfriend of aborting his child. Now a judge says the billboard is staying - for a little while longer, at least.
Nani Lawrence says a billboard created by her ex-boyfriend, Fultz, violates her privacy.
"We're just here to support her,:" said Lawrence's uncle, Pres Ancira. Lawrence's family sat behind her as she fought to get the billboard removed.
It reads, "This would have been a picture of my 2-month old baby if the mother had decided to not kill our child."
Fultz says he put it up after Lawrence told him she lost their baby but offered no other information.
Otero County Judge James Counts says the billboard will stay until both sides can prepare witnesses for a full-blown hearing.
"We kind of won an important battle today in first amendment protection," said Fultz's attorney, Todd Holmes. He said he's defending his client's right to free speech.
But the billboard that Fultz says he put up to address father's rights has sparked a national debate on free speech, privacy, and abortion.
"I never made it about anybody, I made it about a message and that was it," Fultz said.
But some would disagree, due to his off-color tweets and the fact that the original billboard included an acronym, N.A.N.I., spelling out Lawrence's first name.
Fultz has since changed the acronym to C.A.N.I., the Coalition About Needed Information.
"I put the name of an organization I created on there; her legal name was never on that billboard," Fultz said.
But Lawrence's attorney, Ellen Jessen, told the judge it did identify her, making it emotionally abusive. Jessen declined an on-camera interview with us.
"We're feeling pretty good about it," Fultz said.
We also asked Fultz if he's ordered to take down the billboard, will he put another up that's similar? He said he won't rule that out.