Donald Trump v. Hillary Clinton Opinion
I’m slammed today, so I can’t offer much detail; but I thought I’d include a link and the opening discussion (the opinion was issued yesterday by Judge Donald Middlebrooks (S.D. Fla.)):
Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit on March 24, 2022, alleging that “the Defendants, blinded by political ambition, orchestrated a malicious conspiracy to disseminate patently false and injurious information about Donald J. Trump and his campaign, all in the hopes of destroying his life, his political career and rigging the 2016 Presidential Election in favor of Hillary Clinton.” On this general premise, Plaintiff brings a claim for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), predicated on the theft of trade secrets, obstruction of justice, and wire fraud (Count I). He additionally brings claims for: injurious falsehood (Count III); malicious prosecution (Count V); violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) (Count VII); theft of trade secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (“DTSA”) (Count VIII); and violations of the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) (Count IX). The Amended Complaint also contains counts for various conspiracy charges and theories of agency and vicarious liability. (Counts II, IV, VI, and X–XVI).
Plaintiff’s theory of this case, set forth over 527 paragraphs in the first 118 pages of the Amended Complaint, is difficult to summarize in a concise and cohesive manner. It was certainly not presented that way. Nevertheless, I will attempt to distill it here.
The short version: Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants “[a]cting in concert … maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty.” The Defendants effectuated this alleged conspiracy through two core efforts. “[O]n one front, Perkins Coie partner Mark Elias led an effort to produce spurious ‘opposition research’ claiming to reveal illicit ties between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.” To that end, Defendant Hillary Clinton and her campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and lawyers for the Campaign and the Committee allegedly hired Defendant Fusion GPS to fabricate the Steele Dossier. “[O]n a separate front, Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussman headed a campaign to develop misleading evidence of a bogus ‘back channel’ connection between e-mail servers at Trump Tower and a Russian- owned bank.”
Clinton and her operatives allegedly hired Defendant Rodney Joffe to exploit his access to Domain Name Systems (“DNS”) data, via Defendant Neustar, to investigate and ultimately manufacture a suspicious pattern of activity between Trump-related servers and a Russian bank with ties to Vladimir Putin, Alfa Bank. As a result of this “fraudulent evidence,” the Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”) commenced “several large-scale investigations,” which were “prolonged and exacerbated by the presence of a small faction of Clinton loyalists who were well
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