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Fired CISA head sues Trump campaign, Newsmax over defamation

Fired CISA head sues Trump campaign, Newsmax over defamation
United States President Donald J. Trump fired Christopher Krebs as head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for disputing his claims of voter fraud. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Christopher Krebs, the former cybersecurity chief President Donald Trump fired for disputing his claims of voter fraud, filed a lawsuit Tuesday, accusing the Trump re-election campaign, its lawyer Joseph diGenova and conservative Newsmax Media for engaging in a conspiracy to defame and attack him.

In the lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Md., Krebs accused the three of working in concert to attack, punish and defame him in retaliation for leading a campaign as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to inform the public of the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

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Krebs said the trio conducted "a calculated and pernicious conspiracy" to defame and injure him "for speaking truth and conscientiously performing [his] public duties without servile regard to 'partly loyalty,'" the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit was filed following Krebs refuting Trump's effort to spread widely discredited claims of voter fraud and election rigging last month when he issued a statement as the head of CISA with a coalition of government security and elections officials stating, "the Nov. 3 election was the most secure in American history."

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Less than a week later, Trump fired Krebs on Nov. 17 in a flagged tweet for containing disputed election fraud claims that said the CISA statement was "highly inaccurate."

DiGenova then went on Newsmax's The Howie Carr Show on behalf of the Trump campaign to promote the discredited claims of voter fraud.

He also called for Krebs to be "drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot."

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"Defendant diGenova's call to execute Plaintiff was received, as Defendant diGenova intended, by numerous angry Newsmax viewers as confirmation that Plaintiff was one of the 'traitors' who was stealing the election from President Trump," the lawsuit reads. "An angry mob immediately bombarded Plaintiff with a barrage of death threats and harassment, which continue to this day."

The lawsuit includes numerous harassing and threatening tweets, Parlor posts and text messages targeting him and his family by calling him a traitor with many repeating the language diGenova used to demand his execution.

"Why waste a bullet," one of the messages on the right-wing social media platform Parlor reads, "just smash his head in with rock."

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Krebs' lawyers accuse Newsmax of inviting diGenova to attack their client over his disagreement of the Trump campaign's widespread voter fraud claims and that instead of choosing to edit out the call for violence the media organization aired it and continues to disseminate it online.

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"In short, Defendant Newsmax internationally armed Defendant diGenova with the tools to defame and cause Plaintiff extreme emotional distress, and then, by broadcasting Defendant diGenova's defamatory incitement of violence on its website and other platforms, has itself further defamed and inflicted emotional distress upon Plaintiff " the lawsuit states.

DiGenova attempted to walk back the comments early this month, saying in a statement that it was "obvious that my remarks were sarcastic and made in jest."

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"I, of course, wish Mr. Krebs no harm," he said in the statement issued by the Trump campaign. "This was hyperbole in a political discourse."

The lawsuit is seeking to have a judge order Newsmax to remove any video regarding diGenova's threats and monetary damages in excess of $75,000 plus lawyers' fees.

"As a result of the Defendants' coordinated conduct, Plaintiff has become the target of violent threats and harassment and suffered significant financial, professional, emotional, reputational and other damages," the lawsuit argues.

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