A lawsuit against far-wing activist Joey Gibson will continue to play out in Portland, despite his lawyer's request to move the case elsewhere.

On Friday morning, Multnomah County Judge Andrew Lavin rejected the argument that Gibson, founder of Vancouver far-right group Patriot Prayer, would not receive a fair trail in Portland.

"The facts alleged in the complaint are alleged to occur here in Multnomah County," Lavin said. "Therefore, it should be tried in Multnomah County."

Gibson is named in a lawsuit filed by Cider Riot, a NE Portland cidery outside which Gibson and his followers allegedly instigated a violent brawl against anti-fascist patrons on May 1, 2019. Cider Riot owner Abram Goldman-Armstrong filed a $1 million lawsuit against Gibson and five other Patriot Prayer affiliates, accusing them of trespassing and interfering with his business. Gibson and six members of Patriot Prayer are also facing criminal charges for their conduct that afternoon.

The Friday hearing specifically addressed a pretrial motion filed by attorney James Buchal, who is representing Gibson in the civil case. While Gibson wasn't present at the hearing, two other defendants named in the lawsuit—David Willis and Christopher Ponte—watched the proceedings from the public seating area.

Buchal, who also serves as the chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, argued that sweeping local bias against his client and Patriot Prayer will unfairly skew the case's outcome.

"We've seen an extraordinary amount of media bias," said Buchal (who's cited the Mercury as one of many biased news sources). "And we’ve seen every single political leader in the county publicly urinating on the defendant."

Buchal said that's why Multnomah County judges and jury members will undoubtedly be pressured to side with Cider Riot. He also accused the community of being biased against Republicans like himself and his client.

"There’s a fevered atmosphere in the Portland area," said Buchal, "and we cannot expect an impartial trial."

Attorney Juan Chavez—a member of the legal team representing Cider Riot—said that Buchal's argument ignores Gibson's intentional decision to protest in Portland, not in his home town of Vancouver.

"It has to mean something that the defendant himself came to this county to cause these disruptions," Chavez said. "I don’t think people would know who he was unless he was agitating on street corners."

And, Chavez added, changing court venues simply because the Republican party is a minority in Multnomah County would "undermine the very nature" of how juries are selected in the US.

He explained how the court system has reliable tools to keep members of the public who might be unfairly biased about a case off of a jury.

"I have utter faith in the judiciary in this county," Chavez said. "The plaintiff's rights should not be trampled upon just because Mr. Gibson needs a safe space in a different county."

Judge Lavin agreed, and denied Buchal's venue change request.

"Although there may be a number of residents in this county who cannot be fair," he said, "I believe the vast majority of [them] can be fair, regardless of what their political views may be."

Buchal has also filed an anti-SLAPP motion against Cider Riot, accusing owner Goldman-Armstrong of using a lawsuit to silence Gibson's constitutionally-protected free speech. At the Friday hearing, Lavin ordered Goldman-Armstrong's legal team to respond to that motion by Tuesday, Sept. 24. The hearing for the anti-SLAPP motion has yet to be scheduled.

Lavin ended the hearing by thanking both attorneys for their discourse.

"This," Lavin said, "is a very interesting issue to grapple with."