On October 17, 2008, Martin filed a lawsuit against the state of Hawaii calling for the public release of Barack Obama's birth certificate and other vital records. To counter conspiracy theories that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States, the Obama campaign previously posted an image of his short-form birth certificate online. Martin's lawsuit sought a copy of Sen. Obama's long-form birth certificate. The Hawaii Supreme Court later denied Martin's request.
Martin was born in 1945 in Middletown, Connecticut. His father, Ralph Beneducci Martin-Trigona, was of Italian, Maltese, and English descent, and his mother, Helen Anthony (née Vasiliou), was Greek American. He received a B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1966, and a J.D. from that institution in 1969.
In 1973 the Illinois Supreme Court refused to grant Martin a license to practice law in the state due to such conduct as attempting to have a parking violation thrown out because it had been "entered by an insane judge" and for commenting that an attorney, who suffers from a mild case of cerebral palsy, was "shaking and tottering and drooling like an idiot." The court also cited Martin's Selective Service record, which attributed to him "a moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character."
Martin then became involved in consumer advocacy and referred to himself as "the people's attorney general". He took credit for being the first to file suit under the civil component of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), as well as the first to file antitrust actions against the Big Three television networks for anticompetitive practices in network affiliation agreements.
Martin grew up as a Democrat, and served as an intern to Senator Paul Douglas in the summer of 1966. In 1977, he ran in a special election for Mayor of Chicago, but lost to acting mayor Michael Bilandic.
Over the years, he has run for various offices in Connecticut, Florida, and Illinois as a Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. Among them:U.S. Senator from Illinois, 1978 (Democratic primary)
U.S. Senator from Illinois, 1980 (Democratic primary)
U.S. House from Connecticut, 1986 (Republican primary)
President of the United States, 1988 (Democratic primary)
Governor of Florida, 1990 (Republican primary) 4th of five candidates 28,591 votes (4.30%)
U.S. House from Florida, 1992 (Republican primary)
Florida State Senate, 1996 (unsuccessful Republican nominee)
U.S. Senator from Florida, 1998 (Republican primary) 2nd of two candidates 184,739 votes (33.60%)
President of the United States, 2000 (Republican primary)
U.S. Senator from Florida, 2000 (unsuccessful independent candidate) finished 7th of seven candidates with 15,889 votes (0.27%)
U.S. Senator from Illinois, 2004 (Republican primary, removed from ballot according to Illinois State Board of Elections)
U.S. Senator from Florida, 2004 (Republican primary)
Governor of Illinois, 2006 (Republican primary) 5th of five candidates 6,095 votes (0.83%)
U.S. Senator from Illinois, 2008 (Republican primary) 2nd of three candidates 240,548 (33.85%)
U.S. Senator from Illinois, 2010 (Republican primary) 5th of six candidates 37,359 votes (5.0%)
President of the United States, 2012 (Republican primary) only 19 votes.
U.S. Senator from New Hampshire, 2014 (Republican primary) 7th of 10 candidates 734 votes (0.67%)
President of the United States, 2016 (Republican primary)
His 1996 run for the Florida State Senate unraveled when it was revealed that he had named his campaign committee for his 1986 congressional run "The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America." The revelation led the state Republican Party to renounce him. Just before the election, he assaulted two cameramen from WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach. He was convicted of criminal mischief and sentenced to a year in jail. He was freed pending appeal but made personal attacks on the judge while on the way out of the courtroom. The judge held Martin in criminal contempt of court and sentenced him to seven months in jail. However, he was let out of jail after only a month due to a "paperwork glitch". Martin never returned, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. If he is ever arrested, he will have to serve 16 months in jail. The warrant was still outstanding at least as of the time of Martin's 2008 Senate run, but he said the issue is being "resolved."
During his 2000 run for president, he accused George W. Bush of using cocaine. In 2003, several months before Saddam Hussein was captured, he claimed to have found the former Iraqi dictator's hideout.
Martin was a 2010 Republican candidate for U.S. Senator in Illinois for the seat being vacated by Sen. Roland Burris. In December 2009, Martin ran radio ads which included Martin requesting that one of his primary opponents, Congressman Mark Kirk, answer claims about his sexuality made by Jack Roeser, a radio talk show host. Another ad alleged that Kirk, as well as former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, had always known of fellow Congressman Mark Foley's relationship with a former Page, and had done "nothing to stop Foley's pedophilia, for years", and said, that by extension, Kirk was "a de facto pedophile". In response, the state Republican Party announced that Martin would no longer be recognized as a legitimate candidate. Martin returned 37,359 votes, five percent of the total votes. He attempted to run for the U.S. Senate in the general election as a member of the Reform Party of Illinois, but he did not qualify for the ballot.
Over the years, Martin has filed numerous lawsuits, and was labeled as a vexatious litigant by Edward Weinfeld, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York, who observed that Martin had a tendency to file "a substantial number of lawsuits of a vexatious, frivolous and scandalous nature." A number of these filings were allegedly anti-Semitic in nature. In a 1983 bankruptcy case, he filed a motion calling the presiding judge "a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race." In another motion that year, Martin stated, "I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did." He went on to say that "Jew survivors are operating as a wolf pack to steal my property." When later pressed in an interview about his remarks, Martin claimed that the anti-Semitic comments were inserted into his court papers by malicious judges.
In 1983, Jose Cabranes, a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut issued a sweeping injunction barring Martin or anyone acting "at his behest, at his direction or instigation, or in concert with him" from filing any new action or proceeding in any federal or state court without first seeking permission from the court in which he wished to file that action or proceeding. In his ruling, Judge Cabranes noted that Martin had a tendency to file legal actions with "persistence, viciousness, and general disregard for decency and logic." According to Judge Cabranes, Martin's practice was to file "an incessant stream of frivolous or meritless motions, demands, letters to the court and other documents," as well as "vexatious lawsuits" against anyone who dared cross him, including court personnel and their families. For instance, in the midst of the proceeding, Martin sued Judge Cabranes himself, along with the judge's wife. Martin then sought, unsuccessfully, to have Judge Cabranes recused.
On appeal from Judge Cabranes' ruling, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals limited the scope of the injunction to federal courts, but stated that the federal courts were constitutionally obligated to protect themselves and the administration of justice from vexatious litigants like Martin.
Since then, Martin has continued his pattern of filing legal actions. He has repeatedly been cited for contempt for violating the federal injunction. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida estimated that he has filed thousands of proceedings over the years. In 1993 the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that his mother was acting in concert with him by filing a federal civil rights action against several Florida state officials. The court noted similar wording in the suit filed by Martin's mother and a petition filed by Martin himself. In throwing out the suit, the Eleventh Circuit called Martin "a notoriously vexatious and vindictive litigator who has long abused the American legal system." Most recently, a libel and invasion of privacy suit against Media Matters and its founder, David Brock, was dismissed with prejudice because Martin had violated the terms of the injunction.
Martin has been sanctioned at the state level as well. He is banned from seeking indigent status in Florida courts due to his history of filing abusive petitions. Martin is also prohibited from filing lawsuits in New York, unless represented by an attorney or with the court's prior approval.
In November 2015, Martin filed a challenge to the appearance of Bernie Sanders on the New Hampshire ballot for the Democratic primary. The challenge was unsuccessful, but Martin announced plans to appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.
According to a report by journalist Chris Hayes for The Nation, Martin issued a press release shortly after Obama's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that he had evidence Obama "lied to the American people" and "misrepresent[ed] his own heritage." Martin claimed that Obama was really a Muslim, was possibly hiding this fact "to endanger Israel," and that "[Obama's] Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles."
Within a few days, the conservative site Free Republic picked up Martin's press release, triggering a long discussion. However, according to Hayes, the issue went dormant after Obama's election to the Senate, only to pick up again in 2006 as rumors spread that Obama was considering a presidential run. In October, a conservative blog, Infidel Bloggers Alliance, reposted Martin's press release in response to a question about Obama's heritage. Then, on December 26, conservative activist Ted Sampley, co-founder of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, posted a column suggesting Obama was a closeted Muslim, heavily quoting Martin's original press release. According to Hayes, the first of many emails suggesting Obama was a Muslim was forwarded to Snopes within hours of Sampley's story. Hayes believes that the email was likely a slightly altered version of the Sampley article, which was in turn heavily based on Martin's 2004 press release. Martin told Hayes that he got numerous calls once the emails began circulating. When the callers asked him if he wrote the release, Martin replied, "They are all my children."
On June 28, 2008 Martin told the Washington Post that he wasn't "trying to smear anybody," but that it was "just an underreported story."
Jerome Corsi's book The Obama Nation, published on August 1, 2008, opens with a quote from Andy Martin on Obama's alleged Muslim heritage and supposed attempts to conceal it. Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times says that the book has been "widely discredited".
On October 5, 2008, Martin was featured as a "journalist" on Hannity's America of the Fox News Channel. According to The New York Times, "The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government." In a subsequent appearance on Hannity & Colmes, Robert Gibbs, Obama's communications director, criticized Hannity for allowing Martin to appear on the show.
Fox Senior Vice President Bill Shine later retracted support for Martin as a guest: "Having that guy on was a mistake. We obviously didn't do enough research on who the guest was."
In an interview featured on the CNN network's American Morning program on October 27, 2008, Andy Martin explicitly abandoned his view that Barack Obama is a Muslim. In the interview, Martin asserts a newer view that Obama is not the son of Barack Obama, Sr., but is rather the son of Frank Marshall Davis, an African American journalist and political activist who wrote for a newspaper in Hawaii in the 1940s and 1950s that was accused by the House Un-American Activities Committee as being a front for the Communist Party USA. Martin claimed that he discovered this after his recent trip to Honolulu, although he offered CNN no substantive proof for the claim.
On October 17, 2008, Martin filed a lawsuit in a state circuit court of Hawaii against Governor Linda Lingle and health department director Dr. Chiyome Fukino seeking to verify the state's official birth certificate of Barack Obama. Months before this suit, the Obama campaign posted an image of his short-form birth certificate online. Martin's lawsuit sought to order the state to release a copy of Sen. Obama's long-form birth certificate.
The short-form birth certificate that the Obama campaign posted online states that his date of birth as August 4, 1961, his place of birth as Honolulu, Hawaii, and other details. Martin was quoted as saying, "I want to see a certified copy issued by the state of Hawai'i, not one issued by the state of Obama."
Hawaii State Department and Health spokeswoman Janice Okubo stated that only people with a "tangible relationship" to Barack Obama can access a copy of his birth certificate, adding that a 1949 law "was enacted primarily to protect your private information, especially in these days where there's ID theft." Attorney General Mark Bennett stated that he has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on it, but says that according to Hawaii Revised Statutes it is unlawful to release vital records to anyone except individuals listed in state records as having close relations with Obama (i.e., a spouse, parents, descendants, or someone with a common ancestor). In regard to a designee representing Obama, Okubo says "If someone from Obama's campaign gave us permission in person and presented some kind of verification that he or she was Obama's designee, we could release the vital record."
On October 22, 2008, in a Honolulu court proceeding overseen by the Honorable Bert I. Ayabe of the First Circuit of the Supreme Court of Hawaii, the court denied Martin's petition No. 29414 for a writ of mandamus to order the release of Obama's vital records. A further hearing was held on November 18. On November 19, the court denied Martin's "emergency motion" and dismissed Martin's lawsuit, based on Martin's lack of legal standing to obtain another person's birth document.
On April 27, 2011, White House staffers gave reporters a copy of the certificate, and posted a PDF image of the certificate on the White House website. The certificate reconfirmed the information on the official short-form certificate released in 2008, and provided additional details such as the name of the hospital at which Obama was born.