Democrats and political activists on the left have sought to oppose President Donald Trump and his associates through a broad and over-arching effort known as the #Resistance.
One front within that broad #Resistance is the waging of lawfare — incessant legal challenges in a variety of venues with regard to a host of issues — against Trump and his associates, an effort that has received mixed results.
According to The Hill, a district judge in Washington, D.C. just dismissed a lawsuit filed against Trump’s 2016 campaign and informal campaign associate Roger Stone which alleged a conspiracy between the campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks.
The lawsuit — filed by two Democratic National Committee donors and a former DNC employee — alleged the Trump campaign had conspired with both Russian agents and WikiLeaks to publish the purportedly hacked contents of a DNC email server on July 22, 2016.
The plaintiffs suggested — with very little tangible evidence offered — that their privacy had been violated by the conspiratorial actions of the Trump campaign.
However, District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle issued a 45-page ruling which dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to show how the alleged actions of the Trump campaign in D.C. would place them under the jurisdiction of the D.C. court.
Huvelle wrote, “(T)he Court concludes that it lacks personal jurisdiction over defendants and, alternatively, that Washington D.C. is not the proper venue for plaintiffs’ suit.”
The judge made clear in her ruling that her court had not addressed the actual merits of the lawsuit and had simply ruled on the jurisdictional and venue aspects of the matter.
The plaintiffs had put forward numerous allegations based on vague reports with minimal facts that the Trump campaign, as well as Stone, had made numerous contacts with Russian agents and WikiLeaks throughout 2015-2016 and coordinated the release of “hacked” DNC emails with an intent to harm the DNC, its donors and employees and its chosen candidate Hillary Clinton in an effort to aid the Trump campaign’s electoral chances.
But Huvelle ruled that in light of the fact that Trump’s campaign had been incorporated in Virginia and based its headquarters in New York, it could not be sufficiently argued that the campaign’s “home” was in D.C., despite any activity that make take place there, thus calling into question whether the court had jurisdiction or was the proper venue for the challenge.
“The Trump Campaign’s efforts to elect President Trump in D.C. are not suit-related contacts for those efforts did not involve acts taken in furtherance of the conspiracies to disseminate emails that harmed plaintiffs,” Huvelle wrote. “Campaign meetings, canvassing voters, and other regular business activities of a political campaign do not constitute activities related to the conspiracies alleged in the complaint.”
“The same is true of the fact that the Trump Campaign’s foreign policy team was based in the District,” Huvelle continued. “Its mere presence here, without it undertaking overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracies, does not represent a suit-related contact.”
Aside from failing to provide sufficient evidence proving jurisdiction, and the submission of wholly unrelated evidence to back their claims, the judge also took issue with the plaintiffs waiting until the last minute to request “jurisdictional discovery” — which Huvelle deemed to have been both “untimely” and “ill-defined” — that would have allowed plaintiffs to request from defendants an untold amount of documents from campaign officials, some of whom are now administration officials, including the president himself.
Huvelle noted that the plaintiffs had enjoyed ample opportunities to make such a request in the preceding months but had failed to do so. “Granting plaintiffs’ overreaching and ill-defined jurisdictional-discovery motion would also draw this Court into endless discovery disputes,” the judge said.
The judge wrote in conclusion, “(T)his is the wrong forum for plaintiffs’ lawsuit. The Court takes no position on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims. It holds only that plaintiffs have failed to carry their burden to demonstrate that this Court has jurisdiction and is the appropriate venue. Nor are plaintiffs entitled to jurisdictional discovery. Therefore, the Court denies plaintiffs’ motion for jurisdictional discovery and dismisses their suit without prejudice.”
This was a rather blunt, at least as far as legalese goes, smackdown of the #Resistance lawsuit alleging a conspiracy between the Trump campaign, Russia and WikiLeaks with regard to the publication of DNC emails from a judge that seemed, at times, as if she was scolding children complaining to her about things that were none of her business.
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