A former Democratic National Committee staffer and two party donors sued President Trump’s 2016 campaign and its former chairman for invasion of privacy Wednesday in connection with WikiLeaks’ publication last summer of hacked DNC emails.
The 46-page complaint filed in D.C. District Court by United to Protect Democracy, a nonprofit watchdog, accuses Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign of conspiring with the hackers who obtained thousands of Democratic emails published by WikiLeaks during last year’s White House race, including correspondence personally concerning the lawsuit’s three plaintiffs: former DNC staffer Scott Comer and two Democratic donors, Roy Cockrum and Eric Schoenberg.
Citing recent news reports and official government assessments, the watchdog claims the 2016 Trump campaign and its former chairman, Roger Stone, colluded with the DNC hackers prior the release last July of the plaintiffs’ personal information by WikiLeaks.
“Among the materials obtained by the hackers were Mr. Comer’s emails; Mr. Schoenberg’s and his wife’s social security numbers, dates of birth, home address, phone number and banking relationships; and Mr. Cockrum’s social security number, date of birth, address and phone number,” according to the lawsuit.
The leaked emails outed Mr. Comer as gay and “revealed his sexuality to family members with whom he had decided not to share this facet of his life and in a manner he never would have chosen,” the attorneys wrote. His co-plaintiffs, meanwhile, have repeatedly been victims of identity theft ever since their Social Security numbers appeared online last summer, the lawsuit states.
“[I]n the hacking and distribution of Americans’ private information during the 2016 election, there were real victims,” said Protect Democracy’s director, Ian Bassin.
The U.S. intelligence community believes Russian state-sponsored hackers committed the DNC breach and ultimately passed the stolen documents along to WikiLeaks for publication as part of a Kremlin-ordered operation targeting Mr. Trump’s former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Congressional and federal law enforcement investigators are separately weighing whether anyone associated with the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, and on Monday the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., released emails indicating he met with a Russian attorney in June 2016 to discuss sensitive information involving “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“These plaintiffs are using the law and the American civil justice system the way it was intended: to vindicate important rights and values, such as the right to privacy and the right to participate in the political process; and to deter others who might consider colluding with a foreign government for political gain,” Mr. Bassin said in a statement. “They want to ensure that what they have gone through does not become something we accept as part of our democracy.”
The White House did not immediately comment on the lawsuit Wednesday, but Mr. Stone dismissed the lawsuit as a “desperate maneuver of a pack of pathetic losers.”
“There is no evidence whatsoever that I had advance knowledge of the hacking of the DNC e-mails if they were even hacked. I assume this is a publicity play and will be quickly dismissed for lack of evidence. I have instructed my attorneys to seek sanctions against the lawyers involved for the filing of a ridiculous frivolous lawsuit,” Mr. Stone told the Washington Examiner.
Plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and consequential damages totaling no less than $75,000.
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