Ed Butowsky’s Tale — Or, Why Won’t Aaron Rich Sign a Waiver Permitting Assange to Reveal the Involvement (or Lack Thereof) of He and His Brother Seth in the Transmittal of DNC Emails to Wikileaks?On March 12 of this year, attorney Ty Clevenger filed a defamation lawsuit on behalf of plaintiff Ed Butowsky, who alleges that he has been subjected to libelous attacks by a wide range of defendants owing to allegedly true statements he has made regarding his interactions with Seth Rich’s family. Since Butowsky’s legal complaint is 36 pages long, I have extracted key portions of it that are most pertinent to the question of whether Seth and his brother Aaron were Wikileaks’ source for the DNC emails published just prior to the 2016 DNC convention. I have largely omitted the portions describing the frivolous lawsuits filed against Butowski, and the attacks on Butowsky leveled in the media — those interested in these issues can consult the full document:http://lawflog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2019.03.12-Original-Complaint-stamped.pdfCase 4:19-cv-00180 Document 1, Filed 03/12/19
Edward Butowsky, in his personal and professional capacities, Plaintiff
Michael Gottlieb, Meryl Governski, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, Brad Bauman, The Pastorum Group, Leonard A. Gail, Eli J. Kay-Oliphant, Suyash Agrawal, Massey & Gail LLP, Arun Subramanian, Elisha Barron, Gloria Park, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., Anderson Cooper, Gary Tuchman, Oliver Darcy, Tom Kludt, The New York Times Company, Alan Feuer, Vox Media, Inc., Jane Coaston, and The Democratic National Committee,Defendants
6. As a result of the lies fabricated and perpetuated by the Defendants, Mr. Butowsky and his family received death threats, he lost one third of his business clients, rocks were thrown through the windows of his home, his automobiles were burglarized, his computers were hacked, he lost friendships, and he lost the opportunity to host a planned television program. Left-wing extremists even posted a clock on the internet counting down the time until Mr. Wigdor’s son would return for classes at Vanderbilt University, implying that Mr. Butowsky’s son would be harmed when he returned. As a result, Mr. Butowsky had to hire a bodyguard for his son. 7. The Defendants’ smear campaign never should have begun, and it has lasted for far too long. Now it’s time for the Defendants to answer for the lies that they spread and the harm that they caused.
36. Mr. Butowsky stumbled into the RCH [Russia collusion hoax] crosshairs after he was contacted by a third party who had recently met with Mr. Assange in London.
According to that third party, Mr. Assange said Seth and his brother, Aaron, were responsible for releasing the DNC emails to Wikileaks.[/b]
At the instigation of that third party, Mr. Butowsky contacted Joel and Mary Rich, the parents of Seth, and relayed the information. During that conversation, Mr. Rich told Mr. Butowsky that he already knew that his sons were involved in the DNC email leak.[/b]
Mr. Rich said he did not have enough money to hire a private investigator, so Mr. Butowsky offered to pay for one. Mr. Rich accepted the offer and thanked Mr. Butowsky in an email.
37. Mr. Butowsky referred the Riches to Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. … Mr. Butowsky agreed to pay from Mr. Wheeler’s services, but he had no control over Mr. Wheeler’s work for the Rich family.46. In early March of 2017, Joel Rich informed Mr. Butowsky that he had received a call from Defendant Bauman, and that Defendant Bauman said he had been “assigned” to the Rich family [by] Defendant DNC.
38. On May 16, 2017, FoxNews.com published a story by Malia Zimmerman which claimed that Seth Rich had been involved in the DNC email leak. The article undermined the official narrative of the Metropolitan Police Department that Seth Rich had been murdered in a “botched robbery,” and it likewise undermined the Russia Collusion Hoax. The story featured quotes from Mr. Wheeler regarding his investigation, as well as quotes from an unnamed federal official who claimed that federal investigators had copies of Seth Rich’s communications with Wikileaks. Shortly thereafter, the Rich family terminated Mr. Wheeler, and Mr. Wheeler was subjected to withering scorn and criticism from anti-Trump media.
45. On March 13, 2018, Joel and Mary Rich sued Mr. Butowsky on the grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging that Mr. Butowsky knowingly caused them harm by misrepresenting the circumstances of their son’s death. The frivolous lawsuit was dismissed on August 2, 2018, the same day that Mr. Wheeler’s frivolous lawsuit was dismissed.
54. Aaron Rich’s suspicious behavior continued after Mr. Wheeler was terminated. Mr. Rich claimed that he was only seeking the truth when he filed suit against Mr. Butowsky, but
he refused to sign a waiver authorizing Wikileaks to reveal what it knows about Seth Rich’s involvement in the DNC email leaks.[/b]
His attorneys subsequently claimed that they would issue their own subpoena for Wikileaks. They have since reneged, however, because they realized that Wikileaks would likely construe the subpoena as a waiver, in which case it would likely release records showing that Aaron Rich and Seth Rich were both responsible for leaking the DNC emails.
63. On May 30, 2018, Plaintiff’s Counsel asked Defendant Governski if her client, Aaron Rich, would authorize Wikileaks to reveal what it knew about whether he and his brother were involved in leaking emails.[/b]
In an email sent at 3:14 p.m., he wrote:
I’ve attached a preservation letter that I sent to eBay and PayPal, and I have also attached a proposed waiver for your client.
Julian Assange / Wikileaks likely will not cooperate unless your client consents to the release of information.[/b]
Please let me know if he is willing to consent. Thanks.
Ms. Governski responded at 4:27 p.m.:
We believe the appropriate mechanism for obtaining information from third parties is to serve subpoenas to those third parties as contemplated under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Those rules do not require any advance waiver from any party in order to serve or enforce such a subpoena. If any third party has a request to make of our client as a result of a subpoena, we will address those requests directly with those third parties rather than through opposing counsel.
At 8:12 p.m. Plaintiff’s Counsel replied as follows:
Yes, but as a practical matter, Julian Assange, Kim Dotcom, and Wikileaks are beyond U.S. jurisdiction.
Furthermore, Assange and Wikileaks have shown that they will not be coerced into revealing the identity of their sources[/b].
It is for that reason that I am asking your client to voluntarily waive any objections to the release of such information.[/b]
If you are saying your client is unwilling to do that, I think the media (and the public) will find that very interesting.[/b]
Ms. Governski did not respond, so Plaintiff’s Counsel sent a letter via fax and email at 7:51 a.m. on June 1, 2018 to her, Mr. Gottlieb, and a third lawyer at the firm, Randall Jackson:
I write concerning your client’s pleadings in the case identified above. According to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b), an attorney’s signature on the pleadings is certification that he or she has performed “an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances” to determine the accuracy and propriety of those pleadings.As you know, Ms. Governski and I have exchanged emails about whether your client, Aaron Rich, is willing to voluntarily authorize Wikileaks, Julian Assange, and/or Kim Dotcom to discuss any relationship that they may have had with Mr. Rich or his brother, Seth Rich. Thus far, it appears that your client is unwilling to authorize such disclosures.This is very telling. On the one hand, Mr. Rich boldly denies that he and/or his brother leaked DNC emails to Wikileaks. On the other, he refuses to authorize disclosures from the witnesses who are in the best position to know who leaked those emails.
That begs a question: if your client has nothing to hide, why is he hiding it?[/b]Under Rule 11(b), you have a duty to answer that question. Furthermore, you should ask your client some pointed questions about what funds may have been transferred to him or his brother through eBay accounts. And you should remind him that every trip to a safe deposit box is recorded on video and preserved. If the evidence leads where we expect it to lead, my client will aggressively seek sanctions against Mr. Rich and everyone else responsible for bringing meritless claims. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
64. In a bizarre and angry five-page letter sent on June 2, 2018 (a Saturday morning), Defendant Gottlieb offered the following rationale for refusing to authorize Wikileaks to disclose what it knew about the Riches involvement in email leaks:
[P]roviding such a waiver would create precisely the impression you claim we are seeking to avoid. Namely, the mere act of granting a waiver to disclose communications to these third parties could create an impression that there exist communications that could or should be disclosed, and that is especially so if you were to follow through on your threat of disclosing such information to the media.
Defendant Gottlieb nonetheless wrote that he would be issuing subpoenas to third parties such as Wikileaks. On June 22, 2018, Defendant Governski wrote in an email that subpoenas would need to be served on Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Kim Dotcom via letters rogatory, and that she was working on that process. The subpoenas were not issued, however, so Plaintiff’s Counsel sent a news article to Defendant Governski on August 20, 2018 noting that a federal court had authorized service of a DNC lawsuit against Wikileaks via Twitter.Defendant Gottlieb responded with baseless accusations that Plaintiff’s Counsel was practicing law in D.C. without a license.
65. Nearly ten months after the issue was first raised, and despite repeated inquiries from Plaintiff’s Counsel, no subpoenas have been issued to Wikileaks, Julian Assange, or Kim Dotcom[/b] by Defendants Governski or Gottlieb. Contrast that with the fact that Defendants Governski and Gottlieb issued a subpoena within a matter of hours for the private communications of Plaintiff’s Counsel. The reason for this disparity is straightforward: Defendants Governski and Gottlieb know that if Mr. Butowsky issues a subpoena to Wikileaks, the subpoena will be ignored pursuant to its policies for protecting sources. If,[/b] however, Defendants Governski and Gottlieb issue a subpoena to Wikileaks on behalf of Aaron Rich, Wikileaks will likely construe that as a waiver of confidentiality, in which case the damning emails would finally be released. That’s the last thing they want, so they have reneged on their earlier statements about issuing their own subpoenas.[/b]After reading this complaint, I have several questions. Would Butowsky just have made up out of whole cloth his claim that an associate of Assange had informed him that Seth and Aaron Rich were the sources for the DNC emails published by Wikileaks, and that Joel Rich had initially confirmed to him that he was aware of this? If Butowsky had indeed quite outrageously invented this, why were the various lawsuits filed against him dropped — and why did Butowsky have the effrontery to counter-sue? Why did the Rich family claim that the purpose of Bukowsky’s lie had been to traumatize them? — this seems ridiculous on its face. And, most importantly, why won’t the Rich family lawyers follow through on Butowsky’s suggestion that they provide a legal waiver to Assange, or subpoena Assange in Aaron’s name, thereby enabling Assange to state whether or not Seth and Aaron were the sources of the DNC emails? If the Rich family is correct that the brothers were not involved, then Assange could state this and instantly confirm that Butowsky’s claims are rubbish — putting a stop to the alleged trauma that the Rich family claims they are subjected to by “conspiracy theorists”. And why did the DNC feel the need to send the Rich family Brad Bauman as a “crisis counselor” — when they hadn’t even bothered to offer a reward (as Wikileaks did) for the apprehension of Seth’s killer? It appears that the cooperation of the Rich family with Butowsky ended after the unsolicited appearance of Bauman.[/i]And the failure of the Rich family to solicit input from Assange brings to mind the fact that, analogously, Robert Mueller, in his “investigation” of the “Russian hacking” alleged to be responsible for the Wikileaks DNC/Podesta releases, failed to subpoena or attempt to interview Assange, Craig Murray, or Kim Dotcom, all of whom either know or claim to know the sources responsible for these Wikileaks releases. Why didn’t Mueller do the proper investigation he was paid to do? Would a proper investigation run the risk of decimating the Russophobic myths that the Deep State is intent on spreading?[/i]