WASHINGTON — Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard filed a notice in federal court Wednesday saying she and her presidential campaign were dropping her defamation lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who once described Gabbard as a “favorite of the Russians.”

In a two-sentence brief, Gabbard’s lawyers wrote that while Gabbard and her campaign “remain certain of the action’s legal merit, they are just as certain that this new COVID and post-COVID world require them to focus their time and attention on other priorities, including defeating Donald Trump in 2020, rather than righting the wrongs here.”

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign never gained much traction with Democratic voters. Nick Grube/Civil Beat

Gabbard filed the $50 million lawsuit in January while her bid for the White House still had legs.

She had also filed a $50 million lawsuit against Google, alleging that the tech giant had censored her and taken away her First Amendment rights to free speech. A federal judge dismissed that lawsuit in March.

In both cases, Gabbard hired Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, an embattled California law firm whose lawyers also represented President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Michael Avenatti, a convicted lawyer who had represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal battles against the president.

Campaign spending reports show Gabbard’s campaign owes the firm at least $50,000 in legal fees.

Gabbard was among the last candidates to end her campaign after dismal showings in primaries and caucuses across the country. Despite being an acolyte of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who she endorsed in 2016, she endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden.

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