Fusion GPS, the firm behind the now famous Trump-Russia dossier, took a congressional subpoena fight to court, and with it, some big-name lawyers.
The firm filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., last week to fight the House Intelligence Committee’s subpoena for its financial records to an undisclosed bank. The committee is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan of the District of Columbia extended the bank’s deadline to respond to the subpoena to 9 a.m. Friday, and also gave the parties until 3 p.m. Thursday to notify the court should they reach an agreeable solution.
Fusion GPS is also fighting subpoena efforts related to a defamation lawsuit against Buzzfeed, which published the dossier in January. But the firm’s skirmish with the committee marks the first time a congressional subpoena fight related to the Russia investigations made its way into court. That means some prominent attorneys are also involved in the drama. Here’s a roundup of who’s who in the Fusion GPS fight:
Taylor, a founding partner at Zuckerman Spaeder, is one of Washington, D.C.’s best-known defense lawyers and is the lead attorney for Fusion GPS. Taylor has represented the gamut of clients, including former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn in a sexual assault case, coal king Don Blankenship, and former IRS official Lois Lerner, who invoked the Fifth Amendment when she testified before Congress on reports the IRS improperly targeted political groups for tax-exempt status.
Recently, he worked on behalf of former University of California, Berkeley law school dean Sujit Choudhry, who was sued for sexual assault and reached a settlement. Taylor is also active in Democratic politics. In 2016, he gave several thousand dollars to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the DNC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, as well as several Democratic senators, according to Federal Election Commission data.
He also held a fundraiser at his home in 2009, at which Vice President Joe Biden spoke. Way back when, Taylor represented Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, Thomas McLarty, during the Whitewater investigation.
Levy, a founding partner at Cunningham Levy Muse, also represents Fusion GPS. In addition, Levy represents Fusion GPS co-founder and former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, who has already been interviewed by investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Levy is an expert in congressional and criminal investigations, having guided private clients through controversies including Benghazi and the Fast and Furious scandal.
And that’s not his only experience with lawmakers. Levy was counsel to now Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, from 2004 to 2005, and also worked as counsel to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs from 2005-2007. He’s taught seminars on congressional investigations and other topics at Georgetown University Law Center for the past 10 years. He also gave $2,000 to Clinton and the DNC during the 2016 election, according to the FEC.
Aronica represents the anonymous bank. Aronica, known for his work in white-collar and complex litigation, joined Duane Morris in 2003 where he started the firm’s Washington, D.C., white-collar practice. He previously worked at firms including Porter Wright Morris & Arthur and Dechert. Before that, he spent 15 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he began in 1979 as an assistant U.S. attorney and eventually became chief of the criminal division before leaving for private practice in 1994.
Aronica was involved in several high-profile prosecutions while at the DOJ, including that of Richard Smith, who was found not guilty of espionage, and convicted Chinese spy Larry Wu Tai Chin. Aronica also spent four years as an Army judge advocate, and 22 years in the Army Reserves.
As general counsel of the House of Representatives, Hungar represents the House Intelligence Committee, which intervened in the case. Hungar became general counsel in July 2016, and is juggling several cases on behalf of the lawmakers, including Affordable Care Act litigation.
He spent nearly eight years as a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and co-chaired the firm’s appellate and constitutional law group prior to working for the House. Between stretches at Gibson Dunn, Hungar spent five years as deputy solicitor general during the Bush administration and was a rumored pick to serve as Trump’s solicitor general. Hungar has argued more than 25 times before the Supreme Court.
Elias is a partner at Perkins Coie and a prominent Democratic lawyer who served as general counsel for the Clinton campaign last year and represented the DNC. While not directly involved in Fusion’s subpoena fight, it was Elias who retained Fusion to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. Elias has represented Democrats in elections for years, including John Kerry and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota.
He won two redistricting cases at the Supreme Court this year, in addition to a third won last year.