Federal officials who have been sued by Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser who was the target of FBI spying, are being advised to get their own defense lawyers.
Normally, the Department of Justice would defend employees over their official duties. But department lawyers argued in a March 15 motion that the DOJ must determine whether the employee defendants “reasonably appear to have acted in the scope of employment,”
reporte4d Just the News.
The motion said the DOJ also must determine “whether their representation is in the interest of the United States … and whether legal or factual conflicts exist among the various defendants such that representation of all by the same attorney would be inappropriate.”
The DOJ has told several current or former FBI officials sued by Page it is unlikely the department will represent them, Just the News said. Fired FBI chief James Comey and current FBI analyst Brian Auten already have hired private counsel.
This week, Auten told the court he had been told to get his own counsel. He is retaining the law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP.
Comey already had told the court he was retaining David M. Kelley as his defense counsel.
Neither the FBI nor the DOJ commented to Just the News.
The report said an anonymous source explained there are conflicts of interest among the individual defendants.
“For instance, former FBI lawyer and current defendant Kevin Clinesmith was indicted and convicted by DOJ for falsifying evidence in the Russia case that harmed Carter Page, making it difficult for DOJ to defend his conduct,” Just the News said. “Other defendants — such as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former bureau lawyer Lisa Page and former counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok — have lawsuits pending against the U.S. government for issues like wrongful termination or invasion of privacy, putting them in conflict with DOJ.”
The DOJ and FBI obtained four warrants from the top-secret FISA court to surveil Carter Page. It’s now known that the applications “contained glaring factual errors, including falsified evidence, as well as unverified information marked as verified and omissions of evidence of innocence that the FBI should have disclosed to the judges,” Just the News noted.
For example, the fact that Page was an asset for the CIA and not a Russian agent was withheld from the court.
Pages lawsuit against the government and multiple officials asks for $75 million in damages.
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