Judge Tosses Out Lawsuit That Alleged Trump–Russia Collusion

July 4, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit that alleged the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to release emails stolen from the server of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) before the 2016 election.

U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle didn’t rule on the merit of the case, because the suit failed to meet one of the prerequisites: that the Washington court had jurisdiction over it.

Dismissing the suit as “far from a model of clarity,” Huvelle stated in her opinion that the “plaintiffs ask the Court to infer that certain interactions could have been related to the alleged conspiracies when agents of the Trump Campaign met to discuss foreign policy towards Russia or communicated with a representative or agent of the Russian government, including the Russian Ambassador.”

But she stated the plaintiffs showed no evidence the discussions and communications were in any way related to the alleged conspiracy to release the DNC emails.

She then concluded that the suit failed to show that any “suit-related conduct by defendants, in furtherance of the conspiracies, took place in D.C.”—thus dismissing it.

The suit was brought by two DNC donors, Roy Cockrum and Eric Schoenberg, as well as Scott Comer, who worked as the DNC Finance Office’s chief of staff from April 2015 to October 2016, and as the DNC’s LGBT finance chair from June 2016 to October 2016.

The suit said the DNC leak, published by Wikileaks starting July 22, 2016, exposed the donors’ personal information, including Social Security numbers, which led to their identities being stolen by bank fraudsters.

The suit further stated that the release of thousands of Comer’s work emails “included frank and private discussions about other individuals” that “strained relationships with coworkers, family, and friends, and ended some of Mr. Comer’s relationships altogether.”

The suit targeted the Trump campaign and also campaign associate Roger Stone, seeking over $75,000 in damages.

“Plaintiffs’ theory of the case is that the Trump Campaign became aware, sometime in spring of 2016, at the earliest, that Russian agents had hacked into DNC servers and obtained information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party,” the judge stated. ”As for Stone, plaintiffs have no allegations suggesting he even became privy to this information pre July 22, 2016, much less that he joined conspiracies whose objective it was to disseminate the DNC emails.”

Roger Stone during Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif., on July 29, 2017. (Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon)

The suit relied on “amorphous” allegations, the judge stated, that the Trump campaign conspired with agents of Russia and WikiLeaks “to have information stolen from the DNC publicly disseminated in a strategic way that would benefit the campaign to elect Mr. Trump as President.”

But the judge, a Clinton appointee, noted the “plaintiffs’ complaint fails to identify who these Russian agents are.”

At least three people contacted Trump campaign staffers and volunteers to discuss or offer compromising information on Clinton linked to Russia. Yet there’s no evidence any of the contacts were connected to the DNC leak. Moreover, all of those people were connected to high-level Western intelligence circles, the FBI, or the DNC itself.

One was Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic closely affiliated with a spy school frequented by national security and intelligence officials of Western nations, including the United States, the UK, and Italy.

Around April 26, 2016, Mifsud told volunteer adviser to the Trump campaign George Papadopoulos that “the Russians” had “dirt” on rival presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and “thousands” of her emails, according to court documents. There’s no indication Mifsud’s claim was connected to the DNC leak.

The second was Henry Greenberg, who, in late May 2016, contacted Trump campaign staffer Michael Caputo and offered to provide unspecified damaging information on Clinton, but was rebuffed after demanding $2 million for the info, Stone told The Washington Post.

Caputo later hired a private investigator, who revealed Greenberg’s extensive criminal record in the United States and Russia—and his ties to the FBI.

“I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger,” Greenberg said in an Aug. 18, 2015, court declaration under oath.

The court papers showed an FBI agent repeatedly brokered Greenberg’s entry into the United States on a special visa for people assisting law enforcement.

Greenberg said in the declaration that he stopped working with the FBI in 2013, but the private investigator noted that it “strains credulity” that Greenberg would be allowed to stay in the country without being shielded from deportation by a deal with the government.

The third was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower based on a promise of incriminating information on Clinton, Trump Jr. testified to Congress. Veselnitskaya instead used the meeting to lobby against the Magnitsky Act, under which a number of prominent Russians were sanctioned for human rights abuses.

Veselnitskaya was aided in her quest against the Magnitsky Act by Fusion GPS. She met with the firm’s founder, Glenn Simpson, hours before her Trump Tower meeting, and a day or two after, Simpson testified to Congress. He said he didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting until it was reported by the media.

Fusion GPS was retained by the Clinton campaign and DNC to put together the infamous dossier on alleged Trump–Russia relations, which was characterized by then-FBI Director James Comey as “salacious and unverified.”


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