Judge rules for con artist and against free speech

Lovefraud has just published the most recent mind-boggling chapter of the Phil Haberman saga. Haberman, you may recall, has a tendency to exaggerate his meager military service to women he meets on the Internet, plays the wounded soldier when he suffered no injuries, and defrauds people such as his ex-wife.

Haberman’s story was originally published on September 1, 2005 by the Dallas Observer. It was then picked up by at least five different websites and blogs, including Lovefraud. His ex-wife launched her own blog in July, 2006.

Haberman had tried to coerce and threaten the other websites into removing the information about him. No one did it. But when his ex-wife launched her blog, she became a target that Haberman could strike. He took her to family court, claiming domestic violence through cyberstalking.

Judge Robert B. Bennett Jr., of the twelfth judicial circuit in Sarasota, Florida, believed Haberman. He ordered his ex-wife to remove her blog, and make sure all other Haberman stories were removed as well.

Court hearing

To write my article, I listened to the recording of the one-hour hearing in the Florida courtroom. How did Haberman convince the judge to buy his story?

Haberman testified first. When he did, he used message management techniques:

1. Borrowed credibility. In his first few sentences of testimony, Haberman mentioned being stationed at Fort Bragg, and Detective Mary Thoroman of the North Port police department. By doing so, he borrowed the credibility of the military and the police.

2. Detailed, but irrelevant facts. Haberman said his ex-wife was served with the temporary restraining order on “August 28 at 6:33 p.m.” He quoted the Florida cyberstalking statute number 784.048. As a direct marketing copywriter, I know that details sell better than generalities. Do these details mean anything? No, but they sound good.

3. Character assassination. Haberman quickly brought up that his ex-wife had been detained by the Las Vegas police for allegedly attempting to disarm a bailiff, and that the report had been faxed to Detective Thoromon. Of course he did not mention that there was no evidence that she actually did it.

4. Confident presentation. Haberman’s testimony was sprinkled with half-truths, irrelevancies and accusations. But his tone of voice was confident to the point of being adamant—he was right and his ex-wife was wrong.

Haberman did a good job of acting like a lawyer. His ex-wife, on the other hand, should have had an attorney. In her cross-examination, she asked questions that she shouldn’t have asked, and she didn’t ask the questions that would have helped her case. But, having been financially wiped out by Haberman, she couldn’t afford a lawyer. She was on her own, and did the best she could.

Haberman’s ex-wife thought she would have an opportunity to present proof that the statements on her blog were true, and Haberman was a liar and a fraud. For example, she had evidence that Haberman was not currently in the National Guard, as he stated. She never got her chance.

Judge Bennett had “heard enough.” He ruled in favor of Haberman without one document being placed into evidence.

Jurisdiction and First Amendment

It’s bad enough that Judge Bennett ordered the woman to take her blog down without allowing her to present her evidence. But then he held her accountable for all the other stories and postings about Haberman on the Internet.


I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that a judge presiding in family court, in a domestic violence case, has no jurisdiction over the Internet.

Plus, all of the other publishers did their own research and determined that the Haberman case was newsworthy. It’s called free speech, and it’s protected by the First Amendment.

Haberman was the one who originally sought media attention. He sent stories of his adventures in Iraq (highly exaggerated) to his high school newspaper. Then he tried to get television coverage of his return visit to his high school in Dallas.

But when the media started publishing the truth, he didn’t like it.

Legitimate purpose

The Florida cyberstalking statute defines the crime as electronic harassment that serves “no legitimate purpose.”

Haberman’s ex-wife said her purpose in writing about him was to expose him as a con artist. Believe me, it is a legitimate purpose.

People like Haberman rarely get arrested or prosecuted. I hear horror stories all the time of predators getting away with victimizing people. They run up credit cards and leave the victims with the debts. They falsely accuse their ex-spouses of being unfit parents and win full custody of children. They bleed their victims of assets, and then harass them through the courts, when the victims can’t afford to defend themselves.

Then the victims get no justice from the legal system.

Victims are frustrated. They’ve been had, and they know the predator is going to do it again. They at least want to warn others about the person who conned them, hoping to save someone else from the devastation they suffered.

I’ve seen that exposing con artists works. People have contacted Lovefraud, expressing gratitude for the warnings about Haberman. They avoided becoming victims.

To me, posting the truth about a predator on the Internet is more than legitimate. It’s a public service.

Additional Lovefraud coverage of this case

Phil Haberman gets married and claims more money from the Army (November, 2005)

Haberman keeps the con going (April 2006)

Judge orders ex-wife to remove blogs that expose Haberman (November, 2006)

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kim frederick

I live in FloriDAH, but I am not a Floridiot. I was not born here.LOL.

I like to watch court TV in the evenings, and it’s amazing how many storys come out of Florida? WTF?

Ox Drover

Dear Kim,

It is not a requirement to live in FloriDUH to be an idiot but it does help! My friends who live there say the best thing is “it is so close to the US of A”

Yea, I liked it for about 5 minutes and then I was ready to leave. I have never seen such rudeness in people in my life! Rude! Violent! Egocentric! Hateful! Glad to see that place in my rear view mirror for sure! Food was great though! Stone Crabs, cracked konk (I know that’s spelled wrong but can’t remember how to spell it)

And I just loved seeing the new fashions from Victoria’s Secret, when the HOs were going inside for the morning as I was going to work, all decked out in teddys and high heels. LOL


kim – lots of cons in florida because there is a large elderly population- aka dupes.

a ton of cons relating to moving, insurance, house sales – anything to dupe out of towners who are trusting.

oxy – hahha “it is so close to the US of A”
and it’s spelled ‘conch’ if it is the shelled gelatinous mass that i love in fish cakes. conch cakes are BIG in the carribean. i have dedicated my left love handle to conch cakes.


My ‘Floridian’ Gf has always said…..Florida is a haven for disbarred attornies and corrupt Judges.

So when spath moved there to dupe a rich dude…..It only confirmed the sleezyness…..

Easy targets……
i also wonder if the ‘no’ state income tax thing has anything to do with the shadyness?

I would go on cruises out of Miami……and the one cruise I talked spath into taking with meand kids…..HE BITCHED and bitched about hating florida……funny how that was were he ran straight to after separation……

Ox Drover

DEar One, yes, “conch” I did know that but the CRS kicked in, and yes, I love them. Cracked, deep battered and fried, and I credit BOTH love handles to them….there was a great little restaturant around the back of our sub division. It was aqbout 15 ft wide and 50 ft. deep and the cook there had been a real CHEF at one of the big hotels there (he had photos of him with the govs and presidents and all that) and the HOs and the local foke came there to eat, and I would go there and get take out and take it home. GREAT stuff! and grouper. He went to the pier each day and got fresh fish. YUM!

Oh, well, back to the diet! That’s a four letter word if I ever heard it.


I love conch!! I’d be in deep poo if i could get them here!


EB – well, of course he bitched: SMOKE $CREEN!!


It’s ironic how he ‘claims’ to be a homebody…….yet he’s traveled more in the past 3 years since separation than he has in his whole life!
What a wonderous life when you don’t have to ‘answer’ to a wifey. (spath speak….lie to her).

We went on a Alaskan cruise with my family (no kids) for my parents 40 anniversary……The only time I saw him was at dinner.
Again, he bitched and bitched about how boring it was…..
Well….at dinner one night he told a story about being in the sauna…..and a guy coming on to him for a BJ.
He ‘sounded’ disgusted……and we sure were…..never thought of taking that ‘story’ at ‘face’ value back then……
If i’d only of known then what I know now!!! 🙁
There was NO reason to bring this up……it was like his confirmation to us all. But no one got it!
All he did on the cruise was hang out in the Gym and the sauna (for reals….he never got off the ship at ALL)……NOW…..keep in mind…..this was a guy who NEVER worked out at home! Hmmmmmm?????????


oh, they do like to tell us who they are. can’t count the number of times the ppath’s sock puppets ranted on about ‘online predators.’ snort! lots more come to mind, but i might as well just publish her name if i went in to them.

rat bastard…right on the cruise! jayzus. audacious….tis truly amazing…going to the list from the rules of spathiness, #10 – always believe you are right. you are right.

what a heartache that man was. running from his cons now…

….ya know what i say….’can’t kill them with impunity.’


Hi LFers!!! I have not been here for a while, but this seemed like as good a place as any to post this, since my last one mentioned that I was leaving for a while to take care of my ex. I have missed all you guys and girls, and hope that everyone is doing well.

I am only home until Sunday, when I will leave again until April… I don’t post from ex’s house, because he is most likely an N/S, and doesn’t like for me to spend time on his computer—plus I would leave a history for him to find… Hmmmm… notice any red flags here?!!! Hahaha!!! (At least I can always LEAVE!!!)

I came back home 2 weeks ago and had seen the P twice, but NC. Just did my business and went home… Last week, I saw a woman who could have been the stalker (P’s “exGF”), and I went back to get a second look. She looked at me, and when I got home, I had gotten a call at the exact time this exchange took place… So Tuesday I broke NC and was so mad at P that I told him to tell her to stop it or it would be a felony—and he would also be charged. He got very angry and started telling me to stay away from him and that he was warning me… Needless to say, I was a wreck. I’m getting past that, because the only way to go now is forward.

Now I need some advice… I met a guy in May, saw him again in August, and we became FB friends. We sent messages and chatted— nearly every day, and I was going to have him over for dinner one night since his schedule was hectic, and I would only be here for 2 weeks. Last week didn’t work for either of us, so he said he had one day off this week and “WOULD LET ME KNOW”… We chatted for about 2 hours that night, and it seemed we were looking forward to spending some time together. We joke all the time, and he seems like a normal guy…

Guess what? He NEVER LET ME KNOW!!! Haven’t heard a thing since Sunday night. I’ve sent him two light messages asking how he is doing and did he still want to do dinner, and NOTHING… Am I just being paranoid and he is very busy? Should I talk to him and ask him what happened (If and when I hear from him again), OR should I just stop all contact? I don’t get the feeling he is any kind of S/N/P, and I feel a little spathy for thinking of doing what spaths do— the discarding thing… but that was the EXACT same thing the P did to me ALL THE TIME….. He even used the same phrase I’LL LET YOU KNOW or I’LL CALL YOU…

It really hit me like a brick, because it just FEELS like the way the P made me feel when he did that for a year… Cried all day, asked myself how stupid could I be, couldn’t eat or sleep, brain in a FOG, and can’t DO anything.

I don’t want to be a doormat, but I don’t want to be a betch either. I want to find out the reason, and if it’s a good one, then maybe I’ll forgive… but that’s all I did before and it got me discarded and stalked and gaslighted.

I have been on here reading since Monday, trying to just keep myself centered and focused, and I hope I am not making a spath out of a decent guy just because he couldn’t get in touch with me… I am so confused…

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