The US's former top election-security official has filed a lawsuit against a Trump lawyer who said he should be 'taken out at dawn and shot'
Chris Krebs, the former head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the US's top election-security official, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against one of President Donald Trump's lawyers, Joseph diGenova.
- DiGenova recently made headlines when he said on a podcast that aired on Newsmax TV that Krebs should be executed for the way he ran the
- Krebs' lawsuit named diGenova, the
Trump campaign, and Newsmax as defendants and accused them of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, aiding and abetting, and civil conspiracy.
- "In retaliation for Plaintiff's faithful performance of his duties in line with his constitutional oath, the Defendants issued an unlawful and inflammatory 'call to action' for Plaintiff to suffer the fate of a convicted traitor: to be 'drawn and quartered' or 'shot at dawn,'" the suit said.
- It went on to say that as a result of diGenova's statements, Krebs and other Republican election officials had received a "barrage of threats and harassment" from Trump supporters and that Krebs "faces a genuine risk of imminent harm."
The US's former top election-security official has filed a lawsuit against a Trump campaign lawyer who recently suggested that the ex-official should be executed.
Chris Krebs led the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (
"Anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity - that guy is a class A moron," the Trump campaign lawyer, Joseph diGenova, recently said on "The Howie Carr Show," a right-wing podcast that airs on Newsmax TV. "He should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn, and shot."
Krebs' lawsuit filed Tuesday listed diGenova, the Trump campaign, and Newsmax TV as defendants and accused them of defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, aiding and abetting, and civil conspiracy.
The suit "seeks remedies and relief against the Defendants for a calculated and pernicious conspiracy to defame and injure" Krebs "and Republican Party members like him ... for speaking truth and conscientiously performing their public duties without servile regard to 'party loyalty.'"
It added: "In retaliation for Plaintiff's faithful performance of his duties in line with his constitutional oath, the Defendants issued an unlawful and inflammatory 'call to action' for Plaintiff to suffer the fate of a convicted traitor: to be 'drawn and quartered' or 'shot at dawn.'"
The lawsuit said that as a result of the threats, Krebs had received a "barrage of threats and harassment from those acting in accordance with Defendants' incendiary directive, and, as he is acutely aware, faces a genuine risk of imminent harm from persons who may seek to act upon the Defendants' call for violence."
"The Defendants' threats have upended Plaintiff's life, as well as his family's security, and caused serious fear, distress, suffering, and even physical damage," the lawsuit said.
Krebs' lawsuit didn't mince words when describing the Trump campaign's actions since President-elect Joe Biden was projected to be the winner of the election. The campaign, including diGenova, "spread, stoked, and instigated unfounded allegations of system-wide voter fraud, abuse, and interference - without proffering any evidence deemed credible by any state or federal court - in a naked and politically motivated effort to undermine public confidence in the election," the suit said.
- The 2020 election was one of the safest and most secure in US history because of the use of paper ballots, voting machines with verifiable paper trails, and a massive public-education campaign by election officials and nonpartisan experts, which was directed at preparing Americans for how to vote during a pandemic.
- The Trump campaign has filed more than two dozen legal challenges seeking to nullify the 2020 election results since November 3 and hasn't won a single case so far. And while Trump and his allies allege that the election was stolen from him because of a broad conspiracy between Democrats, "big media," and a dead communist dictator, none of the campaign's lawsuits made the same charge, focusing instead on selective allegations of voting irregularities, the vast majority of which have been dismissed, denied, or are still pending.
Krebs also described the events that led up to his firing, specifically pointing to a joint statement from a bipartisan group of election-security and cybersecurity officials who attested to the safety and security of the 2020 election.
After the former CISA chief shared the statement on his Twitter account, Trump announced his firing in a tweet, writing, "The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud - including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, 'glitches' in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency."
But Krebs' lawsuit said diGenova's statements after the fact were more "vile," "inflammatory," "shockingly irresponsible," and "dangerous," particularly because they were made in a polarized political climate.
Tuesday's legal action wasn't unanticipated. Krebs hinted last month that he may sue diGenova, telling NBC
Newsmax released a statement after Krebs' lawsuit was filed, saying that diGenova's comments were "inappropriate" and distancing itself from him. But the right-wing network went on to say the claims made in Krebs' suit "are a threat to free speech and his legal action endangers all media organizations that seek an open discourse of ideas and news."
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