Sheriff’s candidate, blogger and local businesswoman sue Keene, Sununu

A self-described “transsexual anarchist Satanist” recently nominated by the Republican Party to be on the ballot for Cheshire County sheriff while running on a “F*ck the Police” platform, along with a Free Keene blogger and radio host, and the owner of the Pho Keene Great restaurant in Keene, have joined together to sue Gov. Chris Sununu and the City of Keene over the city’s mask ordinance and other emergency measures related to the ongoing global pandemic.

The federal lawsuit filed Friday accuses the governor of “invoking a feigned public health crisis” to limit the Constitutional rights of residents of the state and “regulate nearly every instance of individuals’ daily lives.”

The lawsuit was filed by Aria DiMezzo, who gained international attention last week after winning the GOP primary for county sheriff despite holding antagonistic views toward law enforcement.

DiMezzo is joined in the lawsuit by Ian Freeman, a radio host who describes himself as a minister and who also operates Bitcoin Embassy NH. Malaise Lindenfeld, who opened Pho Keene Great, the cleverly named Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Keene, in 2019 to much fanfare, is also listed as a plaintiff in the suit.

The parties are represented by Robert Fojo, a Bedford-based lawyer who filed a similar lawsuit challenging Nashua’s mask ordinance.

The 57-page lawsuit alleges that Keene, which passed a mask ordinance on Aug. 6, lacks the authority to enact such a requirement. The suit also argues that Sununu has improperly extended a state of emergency provision, and that “there is no longer an emergency in New Hampshire, or even a threat of one.”

The governor’s office and city officials have not yet responded to the lawsuit in court.

Lindenfeld claims in the lawsuit that the governor’s restrictions on in-person dining forced her to permanently close two other restaurants she operated in the Monadnock region. (In May, Audrey’s Cafe in Dublin and Piedra Fina in Marlborough, both owned by Lindenfeld, announced in twin Facebook posts that they were closing permanently due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.) Freeman’s complaints, in part, stem from his claimed inability to host religious gatherings during the pandemic, which he alleges is a violation of his First Amendment rights.

Along with financial damages, the plaintiffs are seeking an immediate injunction to end Keene’s mask ordinance and Sununu’s ongoing State of Emergency orders.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

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