WASHINGTON — Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and her presidential campaign filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The legal action stems from an October podcast interview in which Clinton said Gabbard was being groomed by Republicans to run as a third-party candidate and that she was a “favorite of the Russians.”
At the time, Gabbard, a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, responded by calling Clinton “the queen of the warmongers, embodiment of corruption and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”
Gabbard then used the spat as a fundraising mechanism to help bolster her campaign, which so far has struggled to gain much traction.
The 14-page lawsuit stated Clinton lied about Gabbard being a “Russian asset” to derail her presidential aspirations and convince millions of Americans — including those in early primary states — that she was not to be trusted.
The complaint says Clinton “reserves a special hatred and animosity for Tulsi” in part because Gabbard endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders over her in the 2016 Democratic primary.
“Tulsi is not a Russian asset,” the lawsuit said. “No one — Russia or anyone else — controls her or her presidential campaign. Instead, Tulsi is a loyal American servant, declaring her allegiance to the United States of America both as a soldier and as a member of Congress.”
This is the second lawsuit Gabbard and her campaign, Tulsi Now, have filed against a high-profile defendant. The first came in July when the congresswoman sued Google for $50 million over claims of censorship and violations of her First Amendment rights.
Both lawsuits were filed by the same California law firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, whose lawyers also represent President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in the ongoing Ukraine scandal.
According to Federal Election Commission documents, Gabbard’s campaign paid Pierce Bainbridge $50,000 for legal fees in July, shortly before the Google lawsuit was filed. The congresswoman’s campaign has yet to file its FEC reports for the final quarter of 2019. Those are due Jan. 31.
Read the lawsuit here:
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