A monkey wrench was thrown in the works for the Democrats on Tuesday. As they aggressively pursue the Trump team and it’s possible ties to Russia, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) against primary members of the campaign and WikiLeaks. 

The lawsuit involved hacked DNC documents in which the judge stated the Trump campaign members “did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place” thus relieving them from any legal responsibility for publicizing the information.  

In a tweet President Trump noted that the judge who dismissed the case, John Koeltl, was appointed by Bill Clinton and stated,

… vindication & exoneration from the Russian, WikiLeaks and every other form of HOAX perpetrated by the DNC, Radial Democrats and others. This is really big “stuff” especially coming from a highly respected judge who was appointed by President Clinton. The Witch Hunt Ends!”

In court filings, the DNC declared that the Trump campaign’s meetings “with persons connected to the Russian government during the time that the Russian GRU agents were stealing the DNC’s information” could be considered “circumstantial evidence” in which they were in cahoots with the Russians to “steal and disseminate the DNC’s materials.” There was no accusations that the stolen documents were false or vilifying in any way so it seems as though the purpose of the suit was to hold the Trump campaign accountable for the theft of the DNC’s information. 

The DNC based this on multiple Virginia and federal statutes such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Stored Communications Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act and laws protecting trade secrets.

Despite the DNC’s perseverance in this matter, Southern District of New York Federal Judge Koeltl wrote in an 81 page opinion that their argument was “entirely divorced” from any factual records in the case. Koeltl stated,

“In short, the DNC raises a number of connections and communications between the defendants and with people loosely connected to the Russian Federation, but at no point does the DNC allege any facts… to show that any of the defendants — other than the Russian Federation — participated in the theft of the DNC’s information.”

He went on to add, “Nor does the DNC allege that the defendants ever agreed to help the Russian Federation steal the DNC’s documents.” The main argument of the DNC was that the defendants illegally compromised their trade secrets which were enclosed in some of the stolen documents which includes donor lists and strategies. 

However, Judge Koeltl took the opinion that any claim to trade secrecy was thrown out the window when the documents became public. He went on to say,

“If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet.” 

He argued that, that in and of itself would raise a privacy interest over the First Amendment rights of people and media platforms to circulate matters of “the highest concern.”

Koeltl described the many hacking efforts directed by Russians at the DNC, in which Russians “hacked into the DNC’s computers, penetrated its phone systems, and stole tens of thousands of documents.” Although Democrats would hope that this would qualify as illegal activity, the judge wrote it would not be criminal for the Trump campaign to publish those documents even if they were handed to the team directly. What would make it illegal is if they had contributed to the actual hacking itself but Koeltl maintained that it is not a crime to simply solicit or “welcome” stolen documents.

Koeltl compared this lawsuit to the Pentagon Papers case where the Supreme Court ruled that The New York Times and The Washington Post had been protected by the First Amendment when they published articles in relation to the Vietnam War and trying to justify its existence. A DNC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said,

“At first glance, this opinion raises serious concerns about our protections from foreign election interference and the theft of private property to advance the interests of our enemies.”

The suit also mentioned the Russian government but Koeltl pointed out that the federal law normally prohibits law suits against foreign governments.  Only in severe circumstances can this be overruled. Koeltl did recognize that Russians had a heavy influence and was “undoubtedly” involved in the hacking of the DNC documents. Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, Richard Gates, Roger Stone, Joseph Mifsud and Julian Assange were also named in the suit.

The DNC made mention to the meeting between Papadopoulos and Mifsud in Italy as well as the claim that Mifsud had told Papadopoulos that had thousands of emails containing “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Although Mifsud has ties to both western and Russian intelligence and Papadopoulos did mention to his superiors on the Trump campaign that were interesting messages coming in from Moscow, there is zero evidence that Papadopoulos told the Trump team directly about any stolen emails. 

Another focus was Roger Stone and the complaint even suggested he gave advance warnings of the leaks of the stolen emails. Trump Jr. had his fair share of the spotlight as well when he made comments stating he’d “love” to receive possibly ruinous information. The DNC’s complaint included several other Russian communications with the Trump campaign. 

As much as the Democrats hate it, it seems like their fight to take down Donald Trump has burned up and fallen short of the finish line. There’s a reason for that. A Clinton appointed Federal Judge would not dismiss this case if there was any evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Especially a Clinton appointed judge. One thing that we cannot deny is that some people only talk the talk whereas facts speak for themselves and in this case the facts (or lack thereof) speaks volumes. 



Author: 777 Media Source

Leave a Reply