by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The DNC is trying to break new legal ground. Apparently it believes that losing a political campaign is grounds for money damages or something. The legal basis for recovery is murky at best. …
… It has hung its case on the alleged Russian hack. Since this is central to its theory of liability, it is going to have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (the level of proof in civil cases) that the Russians did the hacking and shared the results with the Trump campaign. On the other hand, the defendants are now able to legally test and challenge that claim.
Assuming the case survives a motion to dismiss for failure to state a valid legal claim, the DNC has just opened itself up to civil discovery by the defendants, who can now compel the production of documents and other physical things, and take the depositions of DNC officials, employees, associates, candidates, operatives, and others. In short, the DNC has just invited the defendants to peruse its most deeply held secrets.
The attorneys for defendant Roger Stone have already notified the DNC that it must preserve its files, email server, and other purported evidence of hacking. Their notice states, “One purpose of this letter is to advise the DNC we intend to test the basic underlying claims that ‘Russians’ hacked, stole, and disseminated DNC data, rather than the various other plausible scenarios, including internal theft.”
Based on the available evidence, in challenging the Russian hacking story, Stone’s lawyers appear to be on solid ground. From the very beginning, that narrative has never passed the smell test.