Marc Randazza's History
A Troll Is Born
Randazza grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where his Sicilian family immigrated, worked as fishermen and gained repute as champion traversers of greased poles during the town’s annual St. Peter’s Fiesta. Randazza chose a different path. In high school, he was voted “most likely to be dead or in jail” by 25. He claims to have failed out of the University of Massachusetts three times.
Twenty-year-old Randazza enlisted in the U.S. Army during one hiatus from college with the goal of becoming a psychological operations soldier, according to military records obtained by HuffPost. He lasted less than five months in the Army. Randazza completed boot camp and airborne “jump school” training but appears to have washed out of psy-ops training and was discharged for undisclosed reasons during the Gulf War.
He returned to the University of Massachusetts and plunged into controversy. A school administrator at the time remembers Randazza as “an oppositional personality” who was “just interested in burning stuff down.” Randazza lived in Butterfield Hall, a dorm known for its drug-fueled parties, and took to flying a Jolly Roger flag from an antenna on the building’s slate roof ― an early, if misguided, free speech stand. Randazza, the former administrator said, egged on other students to climb on the steep roof. The school removed the flag several times because of safety concerns, only to have someone put it back up, at one point by allegedly using explosives to blast off metal bars the school had installed over windows to prevent students from accessing the roof. Randazza claimed the bars “rusted and fell out.”
When one female student complained that the flag resembled the logo of White Aryan Resistance, a prominent neo-Nazi organization, Randazza mocked her concerns and covered a letter she’d written in crude sexual insults, according to the student newspaper. The insults, he said, were his “trademark.”
MASSACHUSETTS DAILY COLLEGIAN
Randazza seemed to delight in antagonizing the UMass administration.
It took Randazza seven years to graduate from UMass with a journalism degree in 1994. After college, he drifted for a few years — a period he vaguely refers to as his time as a “former news reporter,” although scant evidence of his journalism career exists. Randazza filed at least two dispatches from Italy, where he now has dual citizenship, for the newsletter of the Order Sons of Italy in America, a national organization for people of Italian heritage.
In 1997, Randazza managed to get into Georgetown law school; he said he finished a “dead last” in his class. He caused a furor when he ran for the Student Bar Association using campaign posters that referenced penile implants. When the Women’s Legal Association tore down the posters, Randazza protested to the dean that his political speech was being censored. He got to put his posters back up. “And then,” Randazza gloated on one legal blog, “the WLA cow had to apologize to me.”
Randazza completed his third year of law school at the University of Florida because, as he put it, he never fit in at Georgetown: “I found it to be too conformist and oppressive. I’m a hardcore left-wing guy, but at Georgetown, there was no room to dissent.” (Georgetown is a large law school that graduates students from all walks of life and political backgrounds. Among them: Atlantic Media owner David Bradley, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, House Majority Leader-elect Steny Hoyer, criminal Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and criminal Republican lobbyist and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.)
In almost every interview, Randazza describes himself as a “leftist” or a “libtard” or “so liberal” that he’s “practically a communist,” which might have been accurate in 1996, when he listed his party affiliation as the Socialist Workers Party, according to Florida voter registration records. But it wasn’t in 2000, when Randazza volunteered for John McCain’s presidential campaign. Since at least 2002, Randazza has been a registered and active Republican voter, according to both Florida and Nevada records.
He went out of his way to take advantage of us.
With him, there’s always an end game that occurs at the
expense of somebody else. And he has no remorse.
Brian Dunlap, vice president of Liberty’s sister company, Excelsior
He began his legal practice in earnest around that time and, with his bad grades, struggled at first to find a job. He claimed to shun the idea of working at a big firm because “it’s all about being a billing machine and ethics aren’t important.” Instead, his moral compass pointed to pornography, which he called “one of the most ethical industries I have ever dealt with.”
In 2004, he landed a junior position at a small firm that specialized in First Amendment and intellectual property cases. His career received an immediate and major boost when Fox News made him a talking head after an academic paper he wrote about online vote swapping garnered national attention. From the start, though, smut was Randazza’s primary focus. In Florida, the porn lawyer tooled around in a yellow Porsche with U.S. paratrooper plates.
In 2009, he took a nearly $250,000-a-year job in San Diego as in-house general counsel for Excelsior Media, a gay porn company, and Excelsior’s production and distribution arms Liberty Media Holdings and Corbin Fisher. (Because all of the cases Randazza worked on involve Liberty as a party, we will refer to his employer as Liberty throughout this article.) Liberty later relocated to Las Vegas, and Randazza moved with the company.
On his first attempt at passing the Nevada Bar exam, Randazza failed the ethics portion of the test.