(SLTRIB) — Fake hero Xavier Alvarez lied to his fellow Californians.
He never rescued an American ambassador. He was never a Marine. Most definitely, contrary to what he told a Southern California audience, Alvarez was never awarded the Medal of Honor.
He lied, until he was caught. Now, the Supreme Court must decide whether the First Amendment protects Alvarez and other wannabes from prosecution. The consequences could stretch well beyond what lawmakers and veterans call stolen valor.
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"If false factual statements are unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the Congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he’s Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won’t hurt a bit," Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals warned in a ruling that overturned Alvarez’s conviction under the Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes false claims to military honors.