Third time's the charm? Carter Page sues DNC, Perkins Coie over Steele dossier and FISA surveillance

“This is only the first salvo,” says John Pierce, but that depends on your scorecard. Pierce filed a defamation lawsuit in federal court on behalf of Carter Page against the Democratic National Committee and partners of its law firm Perkins Coie over the Christopher Steele dossier and the FISA surveillance it prompted. By some counts, this is the third salvo — after courts tossed out similar complaints in New York and Oklahoma.

First, let’s give Pierce the floor:

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court against the Democratic National Committee, law firm Perkins Coie and its partners tied to the funding of the unverified dossier that served as the basis for highly controversial surveillance warrants against him.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois’ Eastern Division Thursday morning, and was described by his attorneys as the “first of multiple actions in the wake of historic” Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse.

“This is a first step to ensure that the full extent of the FISA abuse that has occurred during the last few years is exposed and remedied,” attorney John Pierce said Thursday. “Defendants and those they worked with inside the federal government did not and will not succeed in making America a surveillance state.”

He added: “This is only the first salvo. We will follow the evidence wherever it leads, no matter how high. … The rule of law will prevail.”

Fox News notes later in the story, however, that it’s not the first salvo at all. Page filed a similar suit against the DNC and Perkins Coie in October 2018 in Oklahoma. The judge quickly tossed out that suit over a lack of jurisdiction, wondering why Page had chosen Oklahoma to file his case:

The suit, which revolved around the infamous dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, alleged that the DNC paid for the dossier as part of opposition research that made “extremely malicious and destructive falsehoods” about him. Page, who is representing himself, also made a number of charges in the lawsuit, including that the DNC’s actions constituted as “act of terrorism” and racketeering.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton dismissed the suit, which was filed in Oklahoma, saying in his order that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case because both Page and the DNC do not have strong enough ties to the state as the DNC has only a state affiliate.

“This court lacks personal jurisdiction over defendants,” Heaton wrote in the order. “Defendants motion to dismiss is therefore granted and this case is dismissed.”

At the time Page filed that lawsuit in Oklahoma, Victoria Toensing told Lou Dobbs that Page had tried to pursue the claim in New York. That, however, got thrown out, so Page’s Oklahoma lawsuit was a “continuation” of that effort. Dobbs even laughed at that characterization:

This raises the same question all over again: why Illinois? The DNC is headquartered in Washington DC, and Perkins Coie is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Page’s investment firm, Global Energy Capital, is headquartered in New York City, and presumably Page lives somewhat close to that location. If jurisdiction is an issue, Illinois won’t be the solution.

This lawsuit probably doesn’t have very good prospects no matter where it’s heard, anyway. The DNC certainly has the ability to investigate and criticize opposing candidates and their campaigns, and Perkins Coie has the right to represent them while they do so. Page’s biggest beef should be with Christopher Steele for compiling the dossier, but at the time that the FBI began its surveillance on Page — the cause that Page is arguing in this lawsuit, apparently — Steele hadn’t made it public, nor had the DNC.

That won’t be their only argument for throwing this out of court. The DNC and Perkins Coie can offer a defense that they hired a known expert in the field in order to do their best to make sure the information was reliable. It wasn’t until much later, long after the surveillance started and others made the information public about Page, that the information was determined not to be reliable. Even the FBI thought it was actionable, they’ll claim, and say it shows them absent of malice in dealing with a public figure — which Page was as an adviser to Trump during the campaign.

Page’s true complaint is with the FBI, the Department of Justice, and perhaps particularly with Adam Schiff, who made a series of defamatory statements about Page. Thus far, Schiff hasn’t even expressed any regret over those statements despite the fact that Page was actually working for US intelligence against the Russians rather than the other way around, as Schiff repeatedly claimed. It’s very difficult to win lawsuits against the government, however just they might be, and sitting members of Congress either. It’s not impossible, but first you have to name them in a suit — and probably file it in Washington DC, where this lawsuit likely belongs as well.

That leaves Page with the legitimate and all-too-true lament of the unjustly smeared: Where do I go to get my reputation back? The answer is almost certainly not going to be Illinois.

Trending on HotAir Videos