Democrats may regret opening this Pandora's Box

A lawsuit filed by the Demo...

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 9:59 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2018 9:59 PM

A lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee over interference in the 2016 election summons another Watergate-era specter: the DNC's 1972 lawsuit filed against the Nixon campaign over the Watergate burglary. There are obvious similarities between the two. But the 1972 lawsuit ended well for the DNC, with a $750,000 settlement on the day Nixon resigned. It's unlikely that the 2018 lawsuit will repeat the successes of 1972.

The facts are really different and hard to prove

While in both cases the DNC was suing the victorious Republican campaign over election interference, even as contemporaneous criminal investigations were being conducted by special counsels, the differences between the two cases dwarf any superficial similarities.

The simple facts of the Watergate lawsuit arose from a physical break-in conducted by burglars -- acting at the behest of the Nixon campaign -- who were caught red-handed at the scene of the crime. The 2018 lawsuit, on the other hand, arises from facts that are anything but simple, as evidenced by a list of defendants that includes: Russia; Wikileaks; Wikileaks founder Julian Assange; Russian intelligence agencies; Russian intelligence hackers, with names like "Guccifer 2.0;" Trump campaign officials like Paul Manafort and Rick Gates; Donald Trump's relatives, and, of course, the Trump campaign.

So a major difference in 2018 is that a foreign nation (Russia) and its intelligence apparatus is being sued. This difference alone raises numerous legal obstacles, like foreign sovereign immunity, and will require litigation over the applicability of exceptions to the general rule that foreign countries cannot be sued in the United States. Moreover, the 2018 complaint alleges that all these defendants worked together in a conspiracy. The ability to prove this is even more complex and difficult, since all these different defendants will need to be tied together.

Proving the wrongdoing in the case is very hard. The crimes alleged in the complaint involve highly sophisticated computer hacks into the DNC servers that were investigated and pursued for months by IT specialists within the United States and by the FBI. Even with all these efforts and investigations, no criminal charges have been brought for the alleged DNC hacks.

And while recent charges were brought against Russians for interference in the elections, those charges did not involve hacking but the creation of false personas and use of social media accounts. Evidence gathered by the FBI and prosecutors may not be readily available in a civil lawsuit and may never be made public.

For example, law enforcement evidence gathered through surveillance and from confidential informants, as well as analysis by FBI or NSA cybercrimes investigators, will not be accessible to private litigants in a lawsuit. Without it, proof of hacking and the source of the hacking may be much harder to come by and, undoubtedly, will involve highly technical evidence that will be difficult to explain to a jury.

Lawsuits are slow and this one is likely to be delayed

Motions to dismiss will likely come up from the defendants in this case. For any lawsuit, progressing through motions to dismiss, which take place before the "discovery" process begins, takes time.

And discovery, involving requests for data, documents and depositions, could take years in a case like this. Yet another obstacle will be the fact that nearly every individual defendant in the lawsuit may invoke the Fifth Amendment, since nearly all of them fall within the scope of a criminal investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The lawsuit is highly likely to be stayed -- or put on hold -- by a judge. Stays frequently occur where a civil lawsuit for money may interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation -- like the one being conducted by special counsel Mueller.

Litigation is a two-way street

Litigation compels both sides to reveal information, so it won't just be the Republicans that have to disclose internal documents. It would be surprising if defendants in this case didn't make highly comprehensive and intrusive document requests of the DNC. Some of these requests could result in newly embarrassing information and, at the very least, will refocus public attention on controversial internal disputes within the DNC, such as disparagement of the Bernie Sanders campaign. The DNC may eventually regret reopening such a Pandora's box.

It's unlikely that history will repeat itself and give the DNC another successful conclusion. The 2018 lawsuit doesn't have the type of evidence, facts, and defendants the Watergate lawsuit did. The DNC should take that into consideration, or else it will be blindly trying to repeat history.

West Lafayette
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 60°
Kokomo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 59°
Rensselaer
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 50°
Fowler
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Williamsport
52° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 52°
Crawfordsville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
58° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 58°
Delphi
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 53°
Monticello
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 53°
Logansport
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 54°
Some more scattered rain with windy & cooler conditions.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events