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A group of prominent lawyers is behind a new lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of Democratic donors against President Donald Trump and Roger Stone, who has advised Trump in an informal capacity.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was organized by the nonprofit United to Protect Democracy. In addition to the Protect Democracy team, other lawyers include Keker, Van Nest & Peters partner Steven Hirsch, former federal judge and Harvard professor Nancy Gertner and Richard Primus, a professor at the University of Michigan law school. All three are working on the case pro bono.
The complaint alleges the Trump campaign and Stone conspired with Russia and Wikileaks to publicly release emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee, in violation of D.C. privacy laws and federal civil rights laws. Wikileaks published the emails during the 2016 presidential election.
The plaintiffs include Eric Schoenberg and Roy Cockrum, two DNC donors, and Scott Comer, a former DNC staffer, who say the publication of their private emails caused emotional stress and harm.
“We thought about the people who were not political candidates or public figures, but who were just trying to participate in their democracy at the basic level as Americans always have. And it became obvious that so long as those victims didn’t have justice, their access to our democracy would stand violated and other civic-minded Americans might be chilled from participating,” said Protect Democracy executive director Ian Bassin in a written statement. “That’s why we are representing three Americans in their suit against the Trump Campaign and Roger Stone.”
Mark Corallo, a spokesperson for Trump’s personal legal team, declined to comment. In an emailed statement, Grant Smith, a lawyer for Roger Stone, said that the lawsuit “is without merit, is blatantly untruthful, and not supported by one stitch of evidence.”
“This is nothing more than an attempt to drag Mr. Stone into something in which he was not involved,” Smith said. “Further, it is a gigantic waste of time of the precious resources of our already overburdened court system. Mr. Stone and his legal team believe this will be summarily dismissed when the matter is taken out of the political arena and left to the judiciary.”
Bassin is a former associate White Houses counsel. Protect Democracy was formed roughly six months ago by a group of lawyers with experience in the Obama administration. Also on the case are former DOJ lawyer Benjamin Berwick, former Special Assistant to the President Justin Florence, and Anne Tindall, a former lawyer at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The lawsuit asks for compensatory and consequential damages to be determined at trial, but more than $75,000, as well as punitive damages.