November 8th, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Michigan Asst. AG Fired for Attack on Gay Student

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

An assistant attorney general in Michigan has been fired, weeks after he targeted the openly gay student body president at the University of Michigan.

Andrew Shirvell was "fired for conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an Assistant Attorney General," Attorney General Mike Cox said in a press statement.

As you may recall, Shirvell created a blog devoted to tracking and attacking the student body president called "Chris Armstrong Watch," where he claimed Armstrong had a "radical homosexual agenda."

On AC360° weeks ago, Cox defended Shirvell's online rants saying, "Here in America we have this thing called the First Amendment, which allows people to express what they think and engage in political and social speech."

Fast-forward to today and Cox still stands behind those comments. However, Cox said Shirvell "repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately used state resources."

We also talked with Shirvell and Armstrong when this story first broke. We'll replay some of those interviews for you tonight and show you how we got to today's decision by Cox. We're keeping them honest.

Also tonight, we'll tell you what it was like at a Connecticut courtroom today when a jury recommended the death sentence for Steven Hayes.

Hayes was convicted of killing a mother and her two daughters in a brutal home invasion in 2007.

Outside court, the only survivor of the attack spoke to the media.

"I think many of you know who have ever lost a parent or a child or a friend... there's never closure. There's a hole," said William Petit. "I've imagined it as a hole with jagged edges, and over time the edges smooth out, but the hole in your heart and the hole in your soul is still there."

We're also tracking the promises by newly elected politicians to cut taxes and spending. Can they live up to that promise?

Plus, meet the "Wheel of Fortune" contestant who solved a seven-word puzzle with just one letter. She shocked host Pat Sajak and many others. That's tonight's Shot.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET. See you then.

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Dana Anderson

    It is my belief that when some people go to certain extremes to out others(gays), and do it in the name of religion...politics or any other off the wall reasons, only do it to cover of the fact they struggle with their own sexuality.

    November 9, 2010 at 5:34 am |
  2. Visha

    mr Anderson I have admiration for your feith in truth.It was radicules to not fired tis guy for so long,and let him stocking and abuse the innocent person.I was stunned that that happened and AG did nothing up to now when you step in. Great job Mr Anderson I love your show.Thank you

    November 9, 2010 at 2:41 am |
  3. Brynn

    A bittersweet victory; firing him has been the goal thus far, but overshadows the long term price to public safety. The rate of escalation of his behavior fueled by the illusion of power and righteousness his position offered should have raised a red flag. I'm disappointed (again)that a hate crime cowers behind free speech.

    November 9, 2010 at 2:38 am |
  4. Tyrone Thompson

    I certainly feel Andrew Shivell should have been fired and much sooner than he was. That was not freedom of speech = it was out right slander and demeaning to a gay man.

    November 9, 2010 at 2:37 am |
  5. Rich bund

    The one burning question to me is:
    What compelled mr. Shervil to attack mr. Armstrong?
    What were the issues?
    What are his arguments with mr. Armstrong?

    All I saw on snippets of the blog was name calling,...

    My impression is that mr. Shervil is a very hateful person and perhaps has emotional issues.
    It's very sad that a young man who has become so successful as to make it to the attorney general's ofc. for the state of Michigan has ended up in trouble and fired from his post because of his obsession with mr. Armstrong, a student, it is very odd and sad indeed.

    November 9, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  6. Royce

    Oh great, now public officials can't exercise their right to Freedom of Speech or Expression. I wonder if AC would've have been so energetic in his efforts had the Asst. AG made comments against someone else like, oh say a Fundamentalist Christian?

    Oh yeah, and speaking of keeping them honest, since I see NOWHERE else on here to mention it, isn't it a bit ironic that AC spent MONTHS attacking BP – along with that other so-called expert (David somebody) that he had on almost every night – and accusing them of cutting corners in order to save a buck BUT tonight he gives 15 seconds to show that a Congressional panel found that BP was right in what they were saying!

    Keeping them honest? What a joke!!

    November 9, 2010 at 2:06 am |
  7. Nena Vidal

    Andrew Shirvell needs to be kept on a tight leash. I was watching him on CNN and I have to admit that the guy gave me the creeps. He seems like a loose cannon waiting to go off. He is the epitome of a psychopath! I have a strong suspicion that Andrew might be infatuated with Chris Armstrong which makes him even more dangerous in my opinion.

    November 9, 2010 at 1:33 am |
  8. Jason Evans

    In light of Andrew Shirvell and the continued protection of outwardly homophobic and hateful speech allowed to continue under the veil of 1st amendment rights, I would like to encourage all Michigan residents to respond in an outward showing of principle.

    I will be writing to the Michigan Dept. of Treasury to request a refund of my tax dollars that paid Andrew Shirvell's salary. While it may seem ridiculous, it is simply a matter of principle. No tax paying citizen should have to pay for a public official to use public resources to express hatred toward their race, color, creed, religion, gender, or sexuality.

    Thank you, Anderson, for bringing light to this issue in such a widely viewed venue. It is infuriating that in this day and age, actions like Shirvell's are allowed to occur.

    November 9, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  9. mona

    However we feel about Shirvell and his actions, he still has a right to earn a living such as he was trained to do.

    Instead of helping him understand that his actions were wrong, this publicity will make it harder for him to find new employment and in the end is likely to make him more bitter and resentful towards Armstrong than he already was.

    Cut him lose on the world rather than assist him to find tolerance/acceptance, seems very shortsighted.

    November 9, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  10. Timothy Holmes

    OK, so I dont understand the comment by annie, its like this.

    This guy is a creep and needs to lose his license. I have worked for lawyers in the past that are of the same stripe.

    My personal view is that religion needs to stay out of politics and politics needs to stay our of religion. If you talk about politics at the pulpit you need to louse your tax exempt!

    November 9, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  11. ErinB

    I am absolutely horrified at Shirvell's actions, and strongly believe he deserves his termination and should have his legal license revoked. I agree that he sounds like a "loose cannon" and should not be trusted to act as an honest patron of the judicial system. It is understandable that people will have differing views on life, and many times we will disagree with one another, but where is this Hate coming from?

    November 9, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  12. Gregory Herrera

    Anderson - I've read and watched this story and Shirvell's appearance on your show. Shirvell's fixation on Mr. Armstrong went way beyond free speech. I was most disappointed by Mr. Cox and his obvious "protection" until there was enough pressure from the high visibility from organizations and people like yourself.

    That is a huge and sad commentary - Michigan's Attorney General using the cop out cover statement "First Amendment" rights. Shirvell is an attorney representing Michigan's Law Enforcement. There is clear rules of the road and to hear COX say, "conduct unbecoming" is very vague! That is again another most disturbing part of this story. Yes Cox announced Shirvell fired and Cox should also step down.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  13. Rashid Grier

    Im not a psychologist or anything, but I would diagnose Shirvell's hatred of Chris as pure jealousy. It really is that simple.

    Here is a young man that is liked and respected despite being sincerely honest about who he is.

    Some people in the world would be hated if people knew who and what they really were. Mr Shirvell seems to be one of these people.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
  14. Sheri

    Sadly, many vitrolic types rage public smear campaigns against others through the internet. That a public official would do such a thing, particularly to a kid still in school, is outrageous. Clearly Shirvell lacks common sense and deserved to be fired!

    November 8, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  15. Yosief Abraha

    Cooper, You have no match in the news service that we observe these days. We need more of your kind. You keep up the excellent job.

    God bless you.

    November 8, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  16. James

    As a resident of the state of Michigan, and a lawyer myself, I find is disgusting that the AG's office let this go as far as it did.
    If not for the publicity afforded by AC360 this guy would have had a ticket to continue on.

    Good job Anderson Cooper!

    November 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  17. Suzanne Turgeon

    Shirvell is a sad, sad case of incredible self-loathing at several levels. Clearly, he needs psychiatric help.

    November 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  18. Annie Kate

    I think the jury came up with the only sentence that was just. While I don't usually support the death penalty some crimes with the cruelty and extent of the crime just seem prime for these type of sentences. Looking forward to tonight's show.

    November 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm |