There have been a couple of publications put out in the last few days which require a response concerning Shelley Luther’s case. I’m not going to name them, but I do want to respond to what I’ve seen as honest questions resulting from them.

I have known at least one of the authors of this garbage for probably 20 years, and I have watched his ability to disagree with someone congenially plunge over the last decade.

When I was active in the beginning of the tea party movement, I started noticing the author in question had become shrill and unhinged. When Tarrant County’s commissioners were adding me to the JPS Board of Managers, this author went ballistic and since then has taken every opportunity to trash me and anything I’m involved in; he hates conservatives and movement conservatives in particular.

Here is my quick response to some specific allegations which were posted on a Facebook page.

Allegation: “For six weeks, they [‘the Tea Party-liberty faction’] [had] been trolling on social media for somebody to raise the money for a challenge to Abbott’s emergency coronavirus health orders.”

Response: “I don’t know what ‘they [‘the Tea Party-liberty faction’]’ is, but I assume that’s just a lumping of everyone this author doesn’t like into one faction that he can call extremist.”

I was contacted by Briscoe Cain, a state representative down near Houston, concerning some vape shops around the state that were shut down. I was also contacted by a couple of churches and some other folks, including a guy who received a ticket for going into a Walmart with his wife. This happened because Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain proclaimed a general rule that only one person should be allowed to be out to do essential work.

I asked people to pay something into the kitty for the work that we were doing—$1,000 for businesses and $500 for people. Some paid, and some did not. The total accepted was somewhere around $8,000 by the time the petition for writ of mandamus was filed.

Allegation: “They found Shelley Luther, 46, a Denton County nightclub singer. Then she put on a show of calling TV stations, saying she just had to open her Dallas beauty salon right now because she needed to feed her family, a teenage daughter.”

Response: First, Shelley was referred to me by two different Arlington residents—who are mutual friends that we both know—at two different times. She researched me and contacted me. Generally speaking, attorneys are not allowed to contact would-be clients as this author has alleged. (This is also why I didn’t directly contact Ana Castro-Garcia and Stephanie Mata, the ladies in Laredo arrested for offering nail and eyelash services in their homes, though I openly suggested in public forums that I’d help them if they called.)

Shelley has made many comments and often referred to people feeding themselves. Even the horrible Texas Monthly article admits that the quote from Shelley was: “I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids…”

She never said she was destitute. She’s a business owner, and responsible people don’t wait until the last minute to take action. But the main reason that people work is to eat. You’d think that is obvious.

Allegation: “An activist website that also promotes the QAnon alternate-reality conspiracy fantasy has raised more than $500,000 for her legal fees though a page. …[I]t was already set up to fundraise April 23, the day before Luther reopened her salon.”

Response: While we were putting together the petition for writ of mandamus, Shelley said that she needed to open because she was struggling with bills and her stylists were asking her to open. I informed her of potential ramifications, which included going to jail.

On April 22, she informed the world of her intention to open on April 24.

Rick Hire contacted me to let me know that he had put together the GoFundMe account and was giving control to Shelley so no one could accuse him of anything. I had never had any knowledge of Rick, and frankly, I still don’t. I didn’t get involved in this for money, but of course if we can raise money or win it in court, we’ll take it. Several other random GOP activists started GoFundMe accounts to help her without contacting me. At least two of them have closed those and are sending the raised money to her.

She’s using the money to pay bills (which includes my firm), help Castro-Garcia, Mata, and some other stylists in Dallas, and to set up a non-profit organization.

Allegation: Isn’t Shelley rich, and doesn’t she have a lot of stuff?

Response: First of all, it’s not relevant. No one can sustain a business and a home without income. (I’ll listen to your “why doesn’t she just follow the rules” advice once you have emptied your bank account to give all your money to other people).

As many of you know, a third of the practice of Norred Law is bankruptcy. We’ve been talking with all sorts of professionals and small businesses who look pristine on the outside but are near destitution because their flow of cash has been cut off. Many of these folks are those who look like they had real money.

But to answer the question just so it can be put to bed, my client’s name is on a number of assets which belong to a person with which she is no longer associated. She has no Tesla or million-dollar home. She has some horses, which are all rescues. She lives in the outskirts of the DFW area on a few acres in a nice home, but it’s not a mansion. Again, as if that has anything to do with anything.

Shame on all of you who are stooping to this level. It’s evil. People should not have to have perfect pasts to be involved in public discourse so useless people can pretend to be journalists while trashing their ideological targets. Shelley’s actions resulted in tens of thousands of people going back to work earlier than they would have otherwise, and she’s still facing five days in jail if we are not successful.

For you to insinuate that I would not have taken her case if she was not white is incredibly stupid. I and the Supreme Court would both look better in such a situation. I still don’t know the color, sexual preference, DNA gender, or religion of many of my clients.

You should not trust the authors of this garbage to write an honest review of even a sandwich shop, because such writing is dedicated to denigrating anyone who is to the right of Karl Marx. The periodicals for which these people write should be shuttered so the local government advertising could go to a more responsible news source, which would be a pretty low bar (the one good reporter that they use could surely work for that new organization).

If you get one of these periodicals, even at no cost, recognize that by accepting it, you are helping that organization sell its ad space because it will claim it has a big circulation. The sooner it dies, the sooner it can stop damaging the public with its lies and misdirection. We are all worse off for the screeds found on its digital pollution.

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Warren Norred

Warren Norred is an attorney in Arlington, Texas.