Chris Krebs, the former Homeland Security official who was fired by the President after debunking election-related myths and conspiracy theories, has sued the Trump campaign, a lawyer for the campaign who said Krebs should be killed, and the conservative news outlet Newsmax.
Krebs accused the the Trump campaign and the attorney, Joe diGenova, of defamation and inflicting emotional distress, and accused Newsmax of aiding and abetting in those efforts. The suit was filed in state court in Maryland, where diGenova lives. The New York Times first reported the lawsuit.
On Nov. 30, diGenova said during an interview on Newsmax that Krebs was a “moron” for asserting that the election had gone smoothly.
“He should be drawn and quartered,” the Trump attorney said. “Taken out at dawn and shot.”
Following that comment, Krebs’ suit alleged, “an angry mob immediately bombarded Plaintiff with a barrage of death threats and harassment, which continue to this day.”
Krebs’ suit seeks monetary damages and the removal of the video of diGenova’s remarks from Newsmax’s archive. The former DHS official alleged in the complaint that Trump, his lawyers and Newsmax have pursued “a calculated and pernicious conspiracy” to defame Krebs and others like him who’ve spoken out against the President’s line that the election was fraudulent.
The suit also accuses the trio of defendants of “civil conspiracy” — described in the complaint at the “symbiotic relationship” between Newsmax, diGenova and the Trump campaign.
“Defendant Newsmax disseminates and amplifies the Defendant Campaign’s and Defendant DiGenova’s attacks on perceived political threats and allegations of election stealing, which pleases viewers, prompts endorsements from President Trump, increases ratings, supports the political goals of the Defendant Campaign, and helps raise more money from duped supporters,” the suit reads.
“In this effort, Defendant diGenova–through his many appearances on Defendant Newsmax–has been an enthusiastic conspirator.”
In a statement Tuesday, Newsmax said Krebs’ claims “are a threat to free speech and his legal action endangers all media organizations that seek an open discourse of ideas and news.”
DiGenova eventually said that his remarks were “sarcastic,” “made in jest” and “hyperbole,” and that he didn’t wish Krebs harm. After resigning from the Gridiron Club over his remarks, diGenova complained that he’d been “cancelled.”
Krebs told the Times: “We need to make it clear that these behaviors are not acceptable in a civil society.”
This post has been updated.