Alex CalCares, the founder of a group called the Fight for Free Speech Coalition, said he would fight for the right of free speech.
He said the group, founded in 2017, was the result of years of conversations with the former U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch.
“I don’t know how you’re going to defend the First Amendment when you’re defending the right to be offended,” Calcare told ABC News.
“It’s really hard to make an argument for it when you think people are being offended.
You have to make a case for it.”
He said free speech was at stake.
“Free speech is about freedom of speech, not free trade,” CalCare said.
“We’ve got to stop using free speech as a cover to do business.
Free trade is the antithesis of free expression.”
He also said free trade can’t be limited to goods or services.
“The United States of America is the most free country in the world,” Calciares said.
Calcaries group was founded in 2016 by Alex Calciare, the former federal prosecutor, and he and his fellow founders had to make difficult decisions about how to address President Donald Trump and his administration.
The group began by offering legal advice to a federal prosecutor about whether the law was clear on what constitutes free speech and how to prevent it.
Calciarires lawyers wrote that free speech includes “the right to engage in expression, and the right not to engage it.”
Free speech, the lawyers wrote, “does not include the right for government officials to suppress, silence or censor.”
Calcariares group has defended several individuals against charges of hate crimes, including neo-Nazis, who were held in a tent on the National Mall.
They were later released without charges after the White House canceled their planned rally.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Poverty Info Center also called on Trump to denounce the groups group, which they said has a history of promoting white supremacist ideology.
The SPLC and SPIC called on him to “expose and publicly denounce” Calciarias group, saying it “continues to promote hate and bigotry in the United States.”
“Alex Calcarian has been charged with inciting hatred and inciting hate crimes and is facing a hate crime charge,” the SPLC said in a statement.
The two organizations have issued a joint statement denouncing Calcarias actions.
“As a leader in the fight for freedom of expression, Alex Calcaares must publicly denounce his hateful views,” they said.
The White House did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Calciaares and his group were initially arrested in 2017 and charged with “attempting to incite hatred, bigotry, or discrimination based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristic,” according to court records.
They faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In court, Calcaring said he was protesting against “hate groups that promote violence and hate speech.”
His attorneys, who are representing him, say the charges were politically motivated and that the group was a peaceful demonstration.
The charges were dismissed after the group settled with the U..
S., which in 2017 banned Calcales group from holding public gatherings and gave Calcals group 30 days to comply.
Calcases group was ordered to pay $75,000 to the U of T student union for the cost of legal representation.
Calcaaries group also was ordered by the U, which was investigating him for possible financial crimes, to pay the university $20,000.
Calcalares’ attorneys say the case is a “political witch hunt” by the university to silence his speech.
“This is not about free speech, it’s about trying to silence Alex Calcalaires freedom of peaceful protest,” said Calccaares attorney, Chris Lacey.
“They want to destroy his group, but they don’t want to prosecute him.”
The university said it would be “very difficult to continue to fight this case.”
Calciaris group is one of dozens of groups who have been shut down by the federal government for organizing in support of Trump.
Caliades group was among those shut down for protesting the inauguration of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired in February after being caught on tape saying he had contacts with Russia.
In 2018, Calcaaris group, along with another group called Pussy Riot, were banned from performing at a performance of the opera Mozart in Moscow.
In a statement after the ban, Calciarie said he believes the decision was politically motivated.
“My group was not invited, but we did participate in the performance of Mozart, which is not the same as being banned,” Calciaaries statement said.
He continued, “It is very sad that the U was trying to keep this circus