DOJ attorney drops motion to chill media from reporting on 'Autokey’ case

Image by RebeccaBarray from Openverse

The last couple of days I’ve reported on a dystopian motion that was filed seeking to silence journalists from reporting on a high-profile case. Assistant United States Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor applied to the judge presiding over United States of America v. Ervin and Hoover in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, to have journalists John Crump and Richard Hughes censored, any fruits of their labors destroyed, and be subject to any other penalties the court would see fit. Crump and Hughes filed an emergency challenge to Taylor’s request and a group of 17 of the biggest online video journalists joined the pair by supporting them via an amicus brief. As reported by Crump during a live stream video with Hughes, and fellow video journalist Mark Davis, aka “DLD After Dark,” the motion to censor the lot was withdrawn.


The “Autokey Card” case involving Ervin and Hoover is at the center of this debate. That case, one rife with injustice and a modern-day witch hunt, has already seen the convictions of Ervin and Hoover for “violating the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 for selling machineguns and conspiracy.”

While Crump and Hughes are able to celebrate the victory of seeing the order request get retracted, we need to remember the larger piece of this picture is that Ervin and Hoover are currently in prison awaiting sentencing – for crimes that don’t exist as applied.

Yesterday, Friday, August 11, 2023, the judge heard the emergency filing from Crump and Hughes, however, the government withdrew their filing against them. The withdrawal of the motion mooted Crump and Hughes request as well as mooted the amicus brief that was filed on their behalf. 

Crump said during the live stream, “It seemed like the judge might not…[the situation] might have been leaning towards our way, I can’t say for sure. But the government decided that it was in their best interest to go ahead and withdraw the motion.” He continued:

“Laura Cofer Taylor was in there and she didn’t testify or anything or speak. It was, I guess, not sure if it was her boss, or who it was…But, another US Attorney actually handled this – the withdrawing of the motion. So that means that my emergency appeal is moot. And that also means that the amicus brief is moot because the government withdrew their motion.” – John Crump on the mooting of his emergency appeal


There’s an adage that we shouldn’t attribute malice to that which is incompetence. These are things that are very difficult to discern when talking about anything involving the government. Hughes brought up some interesting points that need to be echoed. While this is all conjecture, he really was onto something in bringing up these details about Taylor’s filing.

“So the thing that was disturbing to me is that, I’m not a lawyer, my day gig is I’m a tech geek. I’m a cloud engineer. And the thing that really, you know, frosted my fries, or whatever you want to say, is that she used two cases that were about court officers [sic] disclosing pre-sentencing reports. And another case, a third case, that was about an improper [sic] pre-sentencing report. In either, she’s incompetent, or she is trying to mislead the court. Because maybe not a first semester law student would have done this. But an attorney sure as hell should have known that the only person that can share information would have been Matt Hoover, in this case about his pre-sentencing report. And that’s what Matt Hoover did.

So she improperly cited the law, whether it was by mistake or intentionally trying to mislead the court. There’s some more details that are kind of interesting. The judge was not happy [allegedly]….” – Richard Hughes on the cases Taylor cited as evidence


Hughes and Crump were very appreciative of the avalanche of support that they received. The duo, in addition to the amici from the brief, and Second Amendment journalists across the U.S., all realize that this motion by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor was a totalitarian move, and needed to be exposed. Had the government not withdrawn Taylor’s miscalculated and spiteful motion, the case precedent that would follow in the wake would have been monumental – regardless of the outcome.

I reached out to Crump and Hughes for comments. Crump told me, “I am glad the DOJ chose to withdraw their motion.  It should have never been filed in the first place. I believe they thought I didn’t have the means to fight back.” Hughes said that “it’s amazing that our first and second amendment rights are at the whim of a prosecutor with little regard for the Constitution. I want to thank GOA for providing an overwhelming show of force with attorneys to protect these rights for us.”

Now that the matter of the suppression of reporting on Ervin and Hoover’s sentencing is out of the way, we must look forward to the actual sentencing. According to Crump “The judge is extremely fair. We’ve been saying that the whole entire time and we believe that the judge is extremely fair.” We can hope and pray that she’ll take mercy on Ervin and Hoover in sentencing considering this case has been “an entire miscarriage of justice from the get go,” as noted by Hughes.


Will Ervin and Hoover get a “time served” label during their sentencing? They should. Looking at the information that’s available on this case, these antics from Laura Cofer Taylor may actually bend the sentencing to favor those she arranged to be socially executed. Is this case going to go to an appeal regardless? I imagine so, as it should.

Congratulations to Crump, Hughes,, for not backing down, and forcing a corrupt government actor (Laura Cofer Taylor) to fold their hand. Ervin and Hoover, hang in there! Y’all have the Constitution on your side and justice will eventually prevail.

As an additional hat tip to those amici who signed on the dotted line, their names are listed below. Further, the Gun Owners of America deserves special thanks for their financial support through this process, as well as a big thanks to the legal team(s) that assembled as quickly as they did!

  1. Eric Blandford – “Iraqveteran8888”
  2. Paul Glasco – “Legally Armed America”
  3. Jared Yanis – “Guns and Gadgets 2nd Amendment News”
  4. Hank Strange- @hankstrange
  5. Patrick James – “Baby Face P”
  6. Tim Harmsen – “Military Arms Channel”
  7. Clint Morgan – ClassicFirearms
  8. John Mullally – “KB32 Tactical”
  9. Micah Young – “2a Edu”
  10. John Correia – “Active Self Protection”
  11. Mark Davis – “DLD After Dark”
  12. Kenneth Graham – “Marine Gun Builder”
  13. Scott Wilson – “Drop It Like It’s Scott”
  14. Curtis Hallstrom-“VSO Gun Channel”
  15. Mark Dickinson-“James Madison Audits”
  16. Joel Persinger- “GunGuyTV”
  17. John Keys and Shermichael Singleton- “GunsOutTV”

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