Danforth Grayson (born January 4, 1967 in Dallas, Roman America) is a former defence attorney and civil rights activist who gained notoriety for being the founder of The Virus. He has been an outspoken critic of worldwide police systems, claiming that the police often "work for themselves" and not for the people they are supposed to protect. He was inspired to become a lawyer after his parents were framed for narcotics trafficking and worked to gain their freedom, while also using this time to create The Virus as a means for people for whom the police have failed them to "take justice into their own hands".
A relative coup on the original website for The Virus forced Grayson out of his leadership role there (augmented by a criminal conviction for assault and breaking and entering), and, since then, Grayson has been an outspoken critic of the movement. He was released from his sentence on October 18, 2014 after serving just six months, a move Grayson asserts was done by FBII Director Lucius Black to get the new leaders of The Virus "sent after him". Since he release from jail Grayson has been in hiding, only occasionally communicating with the outside world through postings on social media.
In 2020, Grayson- and several of his associates- were arrested and convicted of Virus-related crimes. The news came as a relief to the worldwide law enforcement community since they believed The Virus would now be stunted, but some experts- led by Jason Parys- worry Grayson's arrest would only be "the calm before the real storm" as the conditions that led to The Virus' creation still exist.
Early life Edit
Grayson was born on January 4, 1967 in Dallas to Martin and Joni Grayson (nee Rivers), the first of three children the Graysons would have. Martin worked in the oil industry and, when Grayson was five years old, moved the family to Tulsa, Oklahoma to work on an oil refinery there. Grayson spent his formative years in Oklahoma, graduating from Mark Sanchez Memorial High School at the top of his class in 1985. After taking a year off to work, Grayson studied undergraduate law at the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1990, before attending law school at the University of Florida and graduating in 1993, again at the top of his class.
Grayson trafficking case Edit
Grayson asserts he was inspired to become a lawyer after his family was investigated for narcotics trafficking by the FBII's forerunners, the FBI, starting in 1984. The FBI contended that the Graysons' home acted as a "supply depot" for the Tulsa drug trade, and, after executing a search warrant, found the Graysons' basement was "filled with drugs". Danforth Grayson proved that the warrant was illegal, and the drugs that were actually found was stacks of medicinal marijuana that Martin used as part of his treatment for clinical depression, marijuana that was legally obtained as part of the trade deal between the United States of America and Rome allowed for a case-by-case exemption for medicinal marijuana to be imported, of which Martin had.
Despite this, Martin and Jodi were arrested for their part of the drug trade and went to trial in 1992, getting convicted at the end of the year. Their trial was panned in the media for being a "show trial" that routinely dismissed evidence, with the elder Graysons, pillars in the Tulsa community, held as "examples" for the American government in a futile attempt to quell nationwide rioting at the time.
The younger Grayson worked to secure his parents' release after founding his law office in 1995 in Denver, Colorado with a branch opened in Oklahoma City. Studying the FBI's evidence, he uncovered numerous irregularities involving their investigation and formally lodged an appeal on his parents' behalf on June 1, 1996. After numerous delays, on July 17, 2000 Grayson finally secured his parents' release, along with a formal apology by the FBII.
The Virus (first iteration) and legal career Edit
For more information, see The Virus.
Origins of The Virus Edit
Grayson contends he founded The Virus sometime in 1990, during his final year as an undergraduate at Arkansas. His group was an activist group that routinely protested miscarriages of justice by law enforcement officials, and, by the time he graduated, his group caused the resignation of Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Wilkinson after Grayson proved that Wilkinson's department wrongly convicted ten people for spurious gang-related charges.
Grayson would later move his activities to Florida, and kept up his activism following the opening of his law offices. Part of his group's activities was providing information to its members on how to commit crimes while evading capture, information that Grayson says was done "on a lark" and wasn't at first taken seriously. After a leak of the information to the Tulsa World via an article that appeared on October 9, 1994, Grayson asserted that the information was solely meant as a tool for those whom "the justice system had failed" in order for them to obtain justice under their own terms. Many of Grayson's associates repeated this claim, contending that Grayson had enacted a strict code telling group members that the crimes they commit cannot harm "innocents".
Nevertheless, the revelations caught the attention of the police, who put Grayson and his activities under constant surveillance shortly afterward. In response, Grayson moved to Colorado, where surveillance activities would be difficult due to the mountainous geography and the poor control of the government beyond the Denver city limits. In doing so, Grayson managed to evade arrest for his activities while still being able to be a prominent political and social activist, with his activities soon attracting interest nationwide and around the globe.
Online presence and growth of his legal career Edit
In 1999, a website for The Virus was founded, increasing its reach worldwide. A well-traveled online forum soon emerged as part of the site, with many protesters seeing the website as a valuable resource, not just for information but for recruitment. Many law enforcement officials contended many crimes originated from the website, but no evidence was ever produced proving their case.
In 2002, one of Grayson's most famous cases as a lawyer began when he defended Congressman Marcus Radford (U-Conifer, CO) after Radford was charged in the murder of his brother. Grayson- and many within The Virus community- contended that Radford was targeted by the police because he was up for re-election the following year and thus the Federalist Party paid the police to bring up spurious charges to win the seat from the Unionists. Despite numerous eyewitness accounts of the daylight attack, a note purported to have been written by Radford detailing the plan to kill his brother, a psychological assessment that asserted Radford's competence and intellect, and a seemingly airtight confession, Grayson won Radford's acquittal, just in time for him to regain his seat in Congress during the 2003 election.
Following the Radford case, Grayson expanded his legal practices across the Union, representing numerous high profile clients, including eventual NAU President Joseph Reddick on trial for embezzlement in 2007. Despite never losing a trial, Grayson contends that a few times during the late 2000s he took on cases he wasn't sure he had a shot at winning, and said he was "lucky" his pride didn't cost him his career. "I let my winnings get to my head," said Grayson in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2013, "and I kept on taking a lot of longshots...I got lucky that I won several of them, but, looking back, I'm not proud that it was arrogance that drove my case selection at this time."
End of Virus tenure Edit
In 2012, Grayson noticed rumblings on his forum that called into question his leadership of the group as a whole, with the voices getting progressively louder as the year wore on. At the time, Grayson dismissed the chatter as "just talk", but he would later realize it was Ingrid Fjallsdottir attempting to wrest away the activist group from him so that she could use the group for her own purposes.
The troubles for Grayson began in early 2013, when he was charged as an accessory to over 100 different crimes and subsequently brought to trial. The trial generated lots of worldwide press attention, with many believing that the trial would ultimately "prove" what many pundits believed all along- that The Virus inspired the committal of actual crimes. However, despite lots of evidence (which, at Fjallsdottir's own trial in 2016, it would later come to light that her and her associates crafted much of that evidence, hoping to get the police on his trail), Grayson, representing himself, was able to win his own acquittal, as he successfully showed that the evidence the government collected was superficial at best. He was released on December 2, 2013, but that was not the end of his troubles.
In March 2014, Grayson became entangled in the case of Amelia Fox, defending her against allegations that she killed her friend, Melissa Jackson in November 2013. Despite the presence of FBII agents also working to secure Fox's acquittal, Grayson, out of mistrust, refused to work with them, resulting in him attempting to take justice into his own hands. He concluded that Fox was framed by Toronto Detective Jeff Briar and his associates, and broke into Briar's house to confront him about his actions, assaulting his daughter, Sarah, in the process. The FBII would later arrest him for his actions, winning his conviction in May. Having been thrown in jail, it cemented the loss of control by Grayson of The Virus, allowing Fjallsdottir's associates- who later admitted to recruiting Briar for their activities- to take over the website, and change its focus from social justice activism to a tool for special interest groups to further their own agendas.
Activities after removal from first iteration of The Virus Edit
On October 18, 2014, FBI Director Black granted Grayson a pardon, which surprised many observers. Black contended that he had been released "for good behaviour" but Grayson would later allege that Black released him so that those who took over The Virus could attack him. Thus, since his release, Grayson has been in hiding, with his only communication with the outside world being infrequent posts on his social media accounts, where he never gives up his location.
Since his release, Grayson stated he worked hard to investigate the people who took The Virus from him, and the FBII later admitted that his work helped them uncover Fjallsdottir's expansive crimes and bring her to justice in 2016. The deciding moment was when Grayson uncovered evidence that Fjallsdottir manipulated the rape trial of comic Rupert Covington to get him convicted, which produced enough evidence to arrest Fjallsdottir and uncover her past crimes, which included instigating St. Jasper's Fire.
However, part of Fjallsdottir's conviction meant that the original Virus website had to be shut down, as part of her crimes saw The Virus' scope expand on social media allowing it to evolve into a social media movement without a centralized leader or group. Fjallsdottir's work as a feminist inspired other social activists to take note and take up the banner of The Virus, making it a movement that soon bent to the whims of various different special interest groups, some of whose interests competed with other groups. Thus, The Virus became impossible to control, meaning there was no way Grayson could ever regain actual ownership of the group.
Grayson has denounced this new iteration of the movement, saying it is "all about vanity, not justice", and that Virus practitioners are only using the movement to "further their own selfish interests". Thus, after Fjallsdottir's arrest, Grayson announced that he was remaining in hiding for the time being and pledged that he would continue his fight against "the new Virus", stating that "those who use crime for selfish interests make a mockery of vigilantes everywhere, who are only supposed to act for the common good."
He has also been critical of the Treaty of Buffalo, especially the creation of the Mundiali Imperium police force, which he says are little more than "false reassurance". "The Night of Anarchy got people scared," explained Grayson in a video posted to his social media accounts, "so the governments rushed an agreement to assuage the fears but ultimately wound up creating an organization that does little more than address superficial concerns". He said that the Mundiali has arrested "many people who could have helped them" and cited it as one reason why he continues to lay low, while continuing to press them hoping they may one day "see reality".
Reclamation and second iteration of The Virus Edit
On October 4, 2016, Grayson shot a widely circulated video from an unknown MyFriends that stated he was "reclaiming The Virus". Noting that, despite the fact most who took up "The Virus" banner have very differing views, Grayson noted that almost everyone who took up the banner were marginalized in some way. "No matter what your views are, no matter what political parties you favour or what culture you follow," said Grayson in his video, "there is one thing that unites you all and that's the fact you all have been oppressed by the powers that be. I know I have said a lot to disparage the movement, and I apologize for that (while also knowing some will not accept it), but I will make up for it. I pledge to be the unifying voice...your voice...and provide the leadership this movement needs. I will set up an account, and through those accounts you can contact me and I will fight for you. I promise you this. Because the powers want us to be divided, because that makes us weak. Only when we are together can we be stronger. So join me...and let's unite to make this a better world."
The New War Edit
On September 18, 2018, Grayson released a video through The Virus' social media channels openly declaring war on the world's governments. In the video he denounced all forms of government as weak and ineffectual, stating that governments "work only for themselves and never for you". The video drew comparisons to Thomas Rotler, who used many of the same arguments to denounce the Weimar Republic, but Grayson's supporters vehemently denied the comparison, saying "Grayson actually does work for others".
2020 arrest and conviction Edit
On April 7, 2020, it was announced by the Mundiali that Grayson and many of his associates had been arrested for several Virus-related offences. Convictions were later secured, as Grayson surprisingly agreed to plead guilty for his crimes.
While many in the law enforcement community rejoiced over the news, some- led by criminologist Jason Parys- were skeptical that Grayson's arrest would be meaningful in any way. Parys points out that The Virus is more of an "idea" than an actual organization, and as long what fueled The Virus remains, The Virus itself remains. Parys also questioned why Grayson capitulated so quickly, considering his track record as a criminal defence attorney, leading him to think Grayson is trying to "martyr" himself to lift the spirits of his movement. Few details have been released regarding Grayson's criminal case, leading Parys to wonder what else about Grayson and The Virus the Mundiali is not telling.