GOP Strategist Hits Back At Nunes Lawsuit: He’s Afraid Of His Own State’s Laws

Liz Mair
|
May 15, 2019 12:04 p.m.
JOIN TPM FOR JUST $1

The Republican communication strategist who is named in two of Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) roundly ridiculed defamation lawsuits filed a motion to dismiss the initial $250 million suit on Tuesday, arguing, as Twitter did last week, that the case should’ve been brought in California not Virginia.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, strategist Liz Mair argued she was only named in the lawsuit because she lives in Virginia, which made the congressman’s  “forum-shopping” efforts painless.

“As the filing makes plain, this case has no business being heard in Virginia and the laws in Virginia and the laws of Virginia should not apply. Clearly the only reason I am named defendant in it is to enable forum-shopping by Rep. Nunes,” Mair said in a statement Tuesday. “My hope is that we will soon be able to move beyond this sad moment for our democracy in which the framers’ intent in drafting the First Amendment has been thoroughly ignored by a sitting member of Congress who is using litigation to stifle protected, free speech.”

In the motion to dismiss, Mair’s lawyers argue that the lawsuit should be dismissed and moved to a California jurisdiction. California is Nunes’ home state and is home to Twitter’s headquarters. Twitter is named alongside Mair as a defendant in the suit, in which Nunes alleges the two — along with two anonymous troll accounts posing as Nunes’ “mom” and his “cow” — orchestrated a coordinated campaign to defame him. He claims those efforts were veiled attempts to dismantle his reelection bid, which he won by a far more narrow margin than he’s achieved in the past.

Mair argues that Nunes is simply afraid of the Anti-SLAPP laws in California that go further to protect speech on matters of public concern than Virginia.

“But here, presumably because he does not like the law of his home state of California and mistakenly believes he can avoid its application here, Mr. Nunes has given that strategy a strange new twist, seeking to force the trial at a most inconvenient place for everyone involved,” the motion, obtained by TPM, said. “Mr. Nunes, an elected representative from the state of California, cannot so easily escape the strict requirements of the law of his home state.”

In its motion to dismiss, Twitter alludes to similar rationale for the lawmaker’s decision to file the suit in Virginia. But even if a judge finds that Nunes has jurisdiction to file in a seemingly unrelated state, the lawmaker violated Twitter rules that he agreed to when he signed up to use the platform. As Twitter’s lawyers point out in their motion filed last week, when users agree to the social media platform’s Terms of Service, users agree to bring any lawsuit against the company’s terms in the state of California.

Read the full motion to dismiss and memorandum in support of the motion below:

Comments
Masthead Masthead
Editor & Publisher:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporter:
Senior Newswriters:
Newswriters:
Editor at Large:
General Manager & General Counsel:
Executive Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Publishing Associate:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: