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NORTHEAST HARBOR, Maine (ChurchMilitant.com) - Saturday, More than 40 protesters reportedly gathered outside the home of conservative lawyer and Knight of Malta Leonard Leo to berate the man they've dubbed "one of the most dangerous men in the United States."
Leonard Leo currently co-chairs the board of directors at The Federalist Society. Protesters have gathered several times at his home since June 2022 after the overturn of Roe v. Wade due to his alleged influence on seating conservative Supreme Court justices. Some Marxists have even called him "the king of dark money."
The latest demonstration occurred just days after Eli Durand-McDonnell, a protester who was arrested at Leo's house last year, filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful arrest. A civil lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, with Durand-McDonnell alleging that Leo instigated his wrongful arrest for calling Leo "a f***ing fascist."
The suit, a four-count complaint, doesn't name Leo as a defendant but accuses two officers of the Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Police Departments of perpetrating a "retaliatory arrest to silence Durand-McDonnell's free speech" while acting "at the direct behest of Leo."
The full police audio seemingly exonerates Leo from claims he influenced the officers to arrest Durand-McDonnell.
Leo also wrote an op-ed detailing the incident.
"There have been more than a dozen different protests outside my home, involving well over a hundred different people, and the police have respected those rights, normally doing nothing more than driving by," Leo penned. "What made this instance different enough for me to report it is that a pattern of escalating conduct over a period of time, including that day, raised serious concerns to me about my family's safety."
The Mount Desert police listened and decided to act for my family's protection. As the audio recording bears out, I never demanded his arrest, but instead asked about pressing charges, which normally entails police issuing a summons to appear in court to answer to the complaint at a later time. I repeatedly welcomed the police to reject that approach and suggest an alternative course of action. It is inconsistent with my beliefs about the role of the government to dictate how law enforcement should act.
During the latest rally, someone wrote in sidewalk chalk on the street outside the home, calling Leo a "religious zealot" and an "extreme religious Opus Dei member." Similarly, many signs used at the leftist demonstration targeted Leo's Catholic faith. One sign read "rosaries off ovaries," with each letter 's' written to resemble the Nazi SS insignia.
Another depicted Leo as a Ku Klux Klan member using the fires of religion to burn the crucified U.S. civil rights. Another sign stated, "Leo, You should not be enjoying your life here while you destroy others' lives. Get out!"
Yet another attack on the high-profile conservative read, "Leonard Leo may be a 'really nice guy,' but he is also directly responsible for the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the erosion of your reproductive rights. Google his name! He is one of the most dangerous men in the United States!"
Nancy Shafer, one of Leo's protestors, said of him, "He's obviously super insecure and immature and a total baby. I selfishly want him to leave this town."
"Leo is a fundamentalist Catholic," said group member Harriet Mendlowitz. "His extreme, reactionary views inform his relentless, theocratically-based drive to pack the courts with like-minded judges who willfully and disingenuously deny an ever-changing and evolving world."
According to a June 2022 NPR article, "Those three justices were Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — all of whom voted to overturn Roe. And all of whom were, at some point, on a much-publicized list of potential SCOTUS nominees that Trump publicly shared. A list that was personally curated by Leo."
Some leftists have claimed that Leo used his influence to sway the decisions of conservative Supreme Court justices on different cases.
Journalist Ruth Marcus commented, "The Federalist Society is a one-stop shopping network for identifying, helping promote, credentialing, and supporting conservative lawyers. And in the end, turning them into conservative judicial nominees, and then conservative judges."
In 2022, Leo won the "John Paul II New Evangelization Award." During his acceptance speech, he remarked,
We should be confident that He will guide and guard us as we pursue the new evangelization amid rising opposition and persecution. No question, Catholicism faces vile and immoral current day barbarians, secularists and bigots. These barbarians can be known by their signs. They vandalized and burnt our churches after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. They show up at events like this one, trying to frighten and muzzle us. From coast to coast, they are conducting a coordinated and large-scale campaign to drive us from the communities they want to dominate. ... They seek to have our forums censored or canceled, and seek to have us fired from our jobs or excluded from the public square if we do not swear loyalty to woke ideologies. They're fine with Catholics, as long as we draw the curtains at home and keep it in the pews.
According to a May article by The Daily Signal, "[T]here have been at least 85 attacks on pregnancy resource centers and 152 attacks on Catholic churches since the May 2022 Dobbs leak." The leak it referred to was the premature release of a majority opinion in another court case indicating that Roe v. Wade would be overturned by implication of the Dobbs decision.
As of press time, Leo had not responded to Church Militant's request for comment.