In a 23 page ruling, DC Appellate Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson put a Benghazi conspiracy theory based lawsuit out of its misery.
The suit, filed by Patricia Smith and Charles Woods, sought damages from Hillary Clinton for claims that resemble the talking points Republicans used to keep the fake Benghazi scandal alive.
1. The suit sought damages for wrongful death, claiming Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State “exposed confidential information about plaintiffs’ relatives to the terrorists who ultimately took their lives in Benghazi, Libya in September of 2012.”
2. Smith and Woods also accused Secretary Clinton of defaming them and placing them in a false light during the 2016 election because she disputed their accounts of conversations she had with them about the circumstances that led to the attack in Benghazi.
3. Smith and Woods claimed emotional distress stemming from Secretary Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State and as a Presidential Candidate.
In simple terms, Judge Berman Jackson rejected the plaintiffs attempt to sue Clinton for wrongful death as an individual because she used a private email server, rather than in her capacity as Secretary of State.
The Court finds that Secretary Clinton was acting within the scope of her employment at the relevant time because her actions – communicating with other State Department personnel and advisors about the official business of the department – fall squarely within the scope of her duty to run the Department and conduct the foreign affairs of the nation as Secretary of State.
Judge Berman Jackson rejected the defamation claim with a conclusion that is worth noting in this era of Republican candidates assaulting journalists because they ask questions.
Plaintiffs may find the candidate’s statements in her own defense to be ‘unpleasant or offensive,’ but Secretary Clinton did not portray plaintiffs as ‘odious, infamous, or ridiculous….’ To the contrary, the statements portray plaintiffs as normal parents, grieving over the tragic loss of their loved ones.
It follows that since the court rejected these claims, the claim for emotional stress would also fail. All of us recognize the claims in this suit as the Republican and Trump narrative throughout the 2016 election. No one can fault mourning family members for seeking answers when loss is a consequence of a tragedy like Benghazi.
However, the fact that Republicans continued to fan the flames of a fake conspiracy to win the White House exploited the mourning plaintiffs in this lawsuit. That should be more offensive than blaming Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as a contributing factor to Benghazi. We remember, now with irony, Michael Flynn leading chants of “lock her up” over this.
As several members of Trump’s campaign and transition teams are currently under investigation for actual crimes, vs. the fake ones alleged with Benghazi, Republicans aren’t crying lock them up. Rather they’re doing all they can to provide cover for acts that, at one time, would have had bi-partisan support for investigation, and evidence permitting, bi-partisan support for legal accountability. Rather, we have Democrats doing everything conceivable to get at the truth, with little support from few Republicans, while other Republicans show the appearance of interest in following the facts, in an effort to “Nunes” i.e. sabatoge the investigation.
Instead, we have a Republican Party with pundits and others continuing to offer nonsensical claims in defense of Trump and others for acts that could ultimately be proven treasonous.
It’s also worth noting that two nights ago, a Republican candidate assaulted a Journalist for asking a question – which doesn’t come close to the inaccurate perception that Patricia Smith and Charles Woods had of Hillary Clinton’s actions and statements.
There is an important difference. Patricia Smith and Charles Woods were mourning and took their grievances, however lacking in legal merit, to court. Gianforte (allegedly) assaulted a journalist for asking a question – and still got a seat in Congress. Let that sink in.