SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A convicted felon, who was arrested for child molestation twice, attempted to get a Protection Order against REAL News Michiana journalist Clifton French because the reporter confronted the career criminal as he intimidated a woman and 7 children outside of their Granger home earlier this month. A judge denied the petition without a hearing, citing the ridiculous claims and lies made by the criminal against the journalist.
Earlier this month, Vernado Malone (a convicted violent felon) teamed up with the St. Joseph County Democrat Party and the NAACP to protest County Councilwoman Amy Drake outside of her home at 6:30am as her 7 children were getting ready for school. RNM’s Clifton French went to the protest and confronted the attendees about the intimidation tactics using Malone. The entire protest and exchange can be viewed below.
Malone has been in and out of prison for his entire adult life. In St. Joseph County alone, he’s been arrested for Child Molestation twice, Domestic Battery 7 times, Criminal Trespassing 3 times, Battery twice, Illegal Use of a Police Radio, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Criminal Mischief twice, Forgery and Theft.
Malone also has a lengthy federal criminal history, which includes stealing approximately $100,000 from the American Red Cross.
In 1999, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for credit card fraud. He was ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution.
In 2005, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Aiding and Abetting Forfeiture Allegation. He was ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.
In 2015, Vernado Malone was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft. He was ordered to pay more than $50,000 in restitution.
Malone currently has multiple protection orders against him as well. In fact, he was arrested earlier this year for violating one of those protection orders held by a woman who works in the County City Building.
While there are currently two active protection orders against him, there have been a total of 7 protection orders held by women to protect themselves and their families from Malone dating back to 2013.
In his illiterate petition, Malone lies multiple times regarding the incident. Malone claims the journalist “got in his face” when the video clearly shows Malone
In one section of the petion, Malone claims “Clifton French got in the plaintiff’s face after the plaintiff asked him to move out of the plaintiff’s face as French tried to intimidate Mr.Malone in front of witnesses at the above said press conference.”
As seen in the video of the incident, Malone continued to approach and put himself in front of the journalist as he attempted to interview attendees.
Malone also claimed RNM has started to attend NAACP outings to intimidate Malone. RNM has never gone to an NAACP outing. The only event in which anyone from the NAACP was in attendance and RNM was present was the protest outside of Drake’s home.
Judge John Broden responded to the Motion, denying Malone’s ridiculous request.
“The Court, having reviewed the seven (7) rhetorical paragraphs of Petitioner’s Verified
Motion for Emergency Hearing on Protection Order and the exhibits attached thereto, now
DENIES the request for an emergency hearing as the Verified Motion fails to articulate grounds under the Indiana Trial Rules that warrant the convening of an emergency hearing in this cause.” Broden stated in the order.
Last year, a St. Joseph County Judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought against RNM’s Clifton French by Malone, after Malone refused to provide his electronic devices for the discovery process. Malone, who has multiple federal fraud convictions, requested the dismissal during a status hearing when he realized he was going to have to surrender those devices to a forensic specialist for a couple of hours to provide evidence for RNM’s defense against his frivolous and illiterate lawsuit.
In 2021, RNM uncovered a scheme in which Malone was taking nude pictures of the recently deceased at a local funeral home, then sharing those photographs with the public. Malone is the founder of a non-profit called Justice for Michiana, which claims to assist families of homicide victims with funeral arrangements. Since RNM’s report, the Indiana Attorney General has opened an investigation into Malone and his partner, Alford’s Mortuary. Two families of homicide victims have also filed lawsuits against Malone and Alford’s Mortuary. RNM also uncovered an incident in which Malone attempted to pressure a single mother-in-need into sexual acts in order to receive help from his organization. RNM has also been investigating claims that Malone was pressuring minors to engage in sex acts.
Malone argued to the judge that he didn’t want pictures of children and dead bodies to come out during the discovery process before requesting his case be dismissed. However, Malone’s lawsuit explicitly cites the photographs of dead bodies and claims that he his a potential child molestor, meaning all of those pictures would be part of the case. His lawsuit can be viewed below.
Malone also requested the electronic devices from RNM’s journalist for forensic review and requested his device be surrendered to what appeared to be a pawn shop for the process. RNM’s attorney agreed to a forensic review with a credentialed expert, not a pawn shop. Malone then suggested he could do the review of the device himself. That was also denied.
Despite the defamation case being dismissed, Malone still sought a protection order against the journalist last year as well to prevent RNM from continuing to investigate and write stories about him. RNM’s attorney still requested access to Malone’s electronic devices in order to defend against Malone’s false and frivolous claims, although the scope of the forensic discovery would have been much more narrow. A judge ordered Malone to quickly deliver those devices. Even with the court’s order and his own agreement in court, Malone refused to provide those devices to the forensic expert. The protection order petition was also later dismissed.
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