Stone has denied the claims of the lawsuit
It involves ordinary people whose personal information became public on WikiLeaks
A group of everyday citizens whose personal information became public last year as a result of WikiLeaks releasing a trove of information from the Democratic National Committee is suing the Trump campaign and political strategist Roger Stone.
The lawsuit, led by the group United to Protect Democracy, filed on Wednesday would pit three Democratic donors against President Donald Trump’s campaign and Stone, his longtime confidant. The complaint asserts that alleged coordination between the Trump campaign, Stone and “Russian government agents” led to the WikiLeaks release of the hacked DNC information.
Although WikiLeaks published the hacked information, the lawsuit does not target WikiLeaks, instead targeting the Trump campaign and Stone alone.
An attorney for Stone said that as of Wednesday he had not seen the lawsuit or been served – but that he expects the suit to be quickly dismissed.
“Based on what has been described to him, Mr. Stone states unequivocally that the suit is without merit, is blatantly untruthful and not supported by one stitch of evidence,” attorney Grant Smith said in a statement. “Mr. Stone and his legal team believe this will be summarily dismissed when the matter is taken out of the political arena and left to the judiciary.”
The statement said those who brought the suit should “suffer the severe sanctions the honorable court will likely impose.”
The White House did not immediately respond to comment. However, Trump has continually denied any coordination between his campaign and Russia.
On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump Jr. released a series of emails from last year showing an acquaintance offering information that could damage Hillary Clinton, purportedly from Russia. Trump Jr. has denied any improper action, and his father on Wednesday morning again referred to the questions about coordination with Russia as “the greatest witch hunt in political history.”
The lawsuit makes a series of unsubstantiated assertions, largely based on inferences from press accounts and claims “on information and belief” that the Trump campaign and Stone coordinated with Russia, thereby harming the three plaintiffs.
The group pointed to comments from former US attorney John McKay, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and Berkley Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who read the suit and gave it favorable chances of moving to the discovery phase – enabling the lawyers to examine documents and interview witnesses in an attempt to demonstrate coordination.
“In my experience, most conspiracy cases begin with circumstantial evidence just like this case,” John McKay, a former US attorney, said. “Investigation and discovery often proves it true.”
Last July, just ahead of the Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks released hacked emails from the party’s committee.
Among those to have their information included in the release were Roy Cockrum, Scott Comer and Eric Schoenberg, all plaintiffs in the suit.
The release included private contact and identity information, including social security numbers. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Comer’s homosexuality was outed against his will to his grandparents. It also says that Cockrum, as well as Schoenberg and his wife, had faced repeated identity theft attempts since the leak.
The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in DC on three counts: the public disclosure of private facts, intentionally inflicting emotional distress and a conspiracy to prevent voters from acting politically.
CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.
UPDATE: This story has been updated to include additional comments on the suit’s chances.