Tulsi Gabbard has filed a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The complaint states that Clinton deliberately and maliciously made false statements in an attempt to derail Rep. Gabbard’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Clinton alleged that Gabbard is a “Russian asset.”
The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by Brian Dunne and Dan Terzian, who are Rep. Gabbard’s legal counsel as well as partners at Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.
In addition to running for president, Tulsi Gabbard has served as a United States Congresswoman, an Army National Guard Major, and a U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district.
Gabbard’s lawyers allege that Clinton’s comments have “smeared” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation,” The Hill reports.
“Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” Gabbard’s lawyer Brian Dunne said in a statement.
“Rep. Gabbard’s presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton’s malicious and demonstrably false remarks.”
On October 17, 2019, Clinton publicly stated in an interview that “somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary … [is a] favorite of the Russians… Yeah, she’s a Russian asset.”
“The press extensively republished and disseminated these statements, which were interpreted widely as Clinton asserting that Gabbard is a Russian asset,” Gabbard wrote in a statement.
The complaint is seeking compensatory damages as well as an injunction to prohibit further publication of Clinton’s defamatory statements.
Clinton was the 2016 Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States and United States Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013.
Clinton was a United States Senator for the State of New York from 2001 to 2009, and the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001.
In response to the lawsuit, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said “that’s ridiculous.”
In a podcast released in October, Clinton said she thought Republicans were “grooming” a Democratic presidential candidate for a third-party bid. She also described the candidate as a favorite of the Russians.
Clinton did not name the candidate, but it was clear she was speaking about Gabbard.
“They’re also going to do third-party. I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said.
“She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate,” Clinton said.
Stein was the Green Party candidate in the 2016 presidential election. Stein said the idea she is a Russian asset is an “unhinged conspiracy theory” in an October op-ed for The Guardian.
The lawsuit claims that Clinton is a “cutthroat politician” and “sought retribution” for Gabbard endorsing Clinton’s 2016 Democratic primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Gabbard is now facing Sanders in the crowded 2020 Democratic primary.