A federal judge dismissed the DNC’s lawsuit, with prejudice, arguing their claim that top officials in Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning the 2016 election was presented without merit.
The lawsuit was mainly focused on accusations against Russia, and the judge noted that he couldn’t hear those claims, because federal law governing sovereign immunity prevents litigation against foreign governments.
In his decision, US District Judge John Koeltl wrote, “The remedies for hostile actions by foreign governments are state actions, including sanctions imposed by the executive and legislative branches of government.”
So he is arguing that if the US wants to go after Russia for the claims made by the DNC, which Moscow has repeatedly denied, then it needs to be action taken by the federal government, and not by the DNC.
In the original lawsuit, the DNC claimed top officials in the Trump campaign, as well as WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, should be held liable for sharing leaked emails from the DNC.
But the judge shut down that notion, and he noted that “The First Amendment prevents such liability in the same way it would preclude liability for press outlets that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained.”
So he argued that because there is no evidence that WikiLeaks, Assange, Russia, or Trump’s campaign were responsible for leaking the DNC emails, then they cannot be sued simply because they shared the materials once they were leaked.
This decision is notable because it comes at a time when Assange is in jail, and awaiting possible extradition to the United States where he faces charges of espionage for publishing classified materials that showed horrific acts committed by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A United Nations expert on torture has said he is gravely concerned that if he is extradited, “US authorities will ‘make an example’ of Assange, to punish him personally and to deter others.”
So although, we have a judge who has decided that Assange and WikiLeaks are protected by the First Amendment when it comes to publishing leaked materials, the federal government is still pursuing Assange for the same allegations, and there are fears that he won’t get a fair trial in court.