Donald Trump sued Hillary Clinton and many other Democrats on Thursday, alleging that they attempted to rig the 2016 presidential election by linking his campaign to Russia.
The complaint covers a long list of issues that the Republican former president constantly voiced after defeating Clinton in the 2016 election, and it comes as he continues to erroneously claim that his 2020 election loss to Democratic Vice President Joe Biden was the result of widespread fraud.
In a 108-page lawsuit filed in federal court in Florida, the former president said that “acting in concert, the Defendants intentionally plotted to create a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was cooperating with a hostile foreign nation.”
Among the charges made in the lawsuit are “racketeering” and a “conspiracy to perpetrate harmful untruth.”
Compensation and punitive damages are sought in the lawsuit. Trump claimed he was “forced to incur expenses in excess of twenty-four million dollars ($24,000,000) and continuing to accrue, in the form of defence costs, legal fees, and related expenses, in an amount to be determined at trial, but known to be in excess of twenty-four million dollars ($24,000,000) and continuing to accrue.”
Trump may have waited too long to pursue his racketeering charges, according to Jeff Grell, a lawyer who specialises in racketeering prosecutions. Grell explained that civil racketeering cases have a four-year statute of limitations, but there is frequently a lot of disagreement about when that four-year period begins to run.
Defendants may also argue that Trump’s lawsuit ignores the immunity afforded to government agents, that the action lacks a pattern of racketeering, which is required for culpability, or that the lawsuit tries to stifle the exercise of free speech, according to Grell.
According to Grell, such defences are frequently addressed only after lengthy litigation.
Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, is one of the defendants in Trump’s case.
Steele’s dossier, which was distributed to the FBI and other outlets before the November 2016 election, made unsubstantiated claims that Russia had damaging material about Trump and some of his Republican campaign advisers, and that Moscow was working behind the scenes to defeat Clinton.
In 2020, a Republican-led Senate committee produced a 966-page report concluding that Russia attempted to help Trump win the 2016 election by using Republican political operator Paul Manafort and the WikiLeaks website.
In 2016, Manafort spent five months working for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Russia’s alleged election meddling, which Moscow denies, spurred a two-year investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the United States.
Mueller issued an extensive report in 2019 detailing multiple contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, but no Trump associates were charged with a criminal conspiracy.
“The Russian government judged that a Trump administration would benefit it and attempted to guarantee that outcome,” Mueller wrote in his report, “and that the campaign intended to benefit electorally from information stolen and disclosed via Russian activities.”