Politics Appeals court refuses to revive Carter Page lawsuit
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Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page has struck out again with his lawsuit claiming he was a victim of terrorism in the form of media reports linking him to Russian efforts to influence the Trump campaign.
With just a week to go before release of a hotly-anticipated Justice Department watchdog report on the FBI’s targeting of Page in a series of surveillance warrants, a federal appeals court made evident Monday that it saw little, if any, merit in Page’s civil suit.
Page claims he faced a series of death threats as a result of stories published by Yahoo News, the Huffington Post and Radio Free Europe in September 2016 about a federal investigation into whether he may have been the focus of Russian attempts to interfere in the presidential race.
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However, the three-judge 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel — which included two Trump appointees — ruled that a district court judge acted properly when she tossed out Page’s suit over a series of defects.
“As the district court correctly held, Page failed to allege any facts suggesting that the articles in question were intended to intimidate or coerce civilians, influence government policy, or affect government conduct,” the appeals court said in an order. “Page’s conclusory assertions that defamation and propaganda are acts of terrorism are insufficient to plausibly state a claim under the ATA [Anti-Terrorism Act.]”
The judges also said that law doesn’t allow lawsuits against the government. And they concluded that another claim Page leveled at the Agency for Global Media, the new name for the entity overseeing Radio Free Europe, was barred because he failed to inform that outlet that he was seeking damages before filing suit.
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Atlast month, Page — a student in a Master’s of Law program — contended that he should be allowed to revise his suit, in part because he filed it without the aid of a lawyer.
However, the appeals judges said it would be “futile” to allow him to try to redraft his complaint.
Asked about the appeals court’s order, Page linked the ruling to the forthcoming Justice Department Inspector General report and to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant applications the Justice watchdog has been reviewing for more than a year and a half.
“This decision is entirely consistent with DOJ’s complete mismanagement of the one-sided IG report,” the former Trump campaign adviser said. “Like the 4 judges on the FISC and the SDNY judge who led the way to this appellate panel’s decision, they have all been in a race to accept any lies that the arrogant and partisan DOJ bureaucrats throw their way. See no evil, hear no evil, repeat all half-truths. The 2nd Circuit’s preliminary order is far from the end of this story.”
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“There’s much more to come,” Page told the judges last month. He said he expects “a million records” to emerge from the IG report and buttress his case.
At the same argument session, lawyers for the federal government and for Oath, Yahoo’s parent company, urged the appeals court not to allow Page to revive his suit.
“Publication of a news article is simply not an act of international terrorism,” attorney David Parker said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephan Cha-Kim described Page’s suit as “meritless for a long list of reasons.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment. Parker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ruling Monday was issued by 2nd Circuit Judges Amalya Kearse, Richard Sullivan and Michael Park. Kearse was appointed by President Jimmy Carter. Sullivan and Park were both appointed by Trump.
Page is also pursuing a new lawsuit against the Justice Department, alleging that his privacy rights have been repeatedly violated by officials handling various aspects of the Russia probe.
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