Donald Trump sues Hillary Clinton over Russian collusion allegations in 2016

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) – Donald Trump on Thursday sued his 2016 U.S. presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, and several other Democrats, alleging they tried to rig the election by linking his campaign to Russia.

The lawsuit covers a long list of grievances the former Republican president aired repeatedly during his four years in the White House after beating Clinton, and comes as he continues to falsely claim that his defeat in the 2020 election against Democratic President Joe Biden was the result of widespread fraud. .

“Acting in concert, the defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, colluded with hostile foreign sovereignty,” the former president alleged in a 108-page lawsuit filed. in federal court in Florida. .

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The lawsuit alleges “racketeering” and a “conspiracy to commit a prejudicial lie”, among other allegations.

A Clinton representative did not respond to a request for comment.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Trump said he was “forced to incur expenses in an amount to be determined at trial, but known to exceed twenty-four million dollars ($24,000,000) and continuing to accumulate, in the form of defense costs, legal fees and other expenses.”

Jeff Grell, a racketeering attorney, said Trump may have waited too long to bring his racketeering charges. Civil racketeering claims are governed by a four-year statute of limitations, Grell said, but there’s usually a big dispute as to when that four-year period begins to run.

Grell said defendants can also raise various defenses, such as that Trump’s lawsuit ignores the immunity granted to government agents, the lawsuit does not lay out a racketeering scheme — which is required for accountability — or the trial seeks to chill the exercise of freedom of speech.

Such defenses are usually resolved only after protracted litigation, Grell said.

The defendants in Trump’s lawsuit include Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer.

A dossier authored by Steele, which was distributed to the FBI and the media before the November 2016 election, laid out unproven claims that Russia had embarrassing information about Trump and some of his Republican campaign advisers and that Moscow was working behind the scenes to defeat Clinton. .

A 966-page report released by a Republican-led US Senate committee in 2020 concluded that Russia used Republican political operative Paul Manafort and the WikiLeaks website to try to help Trump win the 2016 election.

Manafort worked on Trump’s presidential campaign for five months in 2016.

Russia’s alleged interference in the election, which Moscow denies, has sparked a two-year US investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In 2019, Mueller released an extensive report detailing numerous ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, but did not accuse any Trump associates of criminal conspiracy.

Mueller said in his report that “the Russian government perceived that it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to achieve that outcome, and that the campaign expected it to benefit electorally from information stolen and disseminated through to the Russian efforts”.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe in Washington and Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Scott Malone, Chris Reese and Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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