While the Washington, D.C.-based judge dismissed Vindman’s complaint, he recognized the harm suffered by Vindman and his family.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Alexander Vindman, who had accused Donald Trump Jr. and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani of orchestrating a smear campaign against him.
According to CNN, Vindman alleged that the defendants—including Trump Jr., Giuliani, and then-White House Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, and White House communications staffer Julia Hahn—of conspiring to cause him harm after Vindman agreed to offer testimony in presidential impeachment proceedings.
However, Judge James Boasberg of the Washington, D.C., District Court said that Vindman had not been able to adequately demonstrate that the defendants had acted in concert with the “specific goal of intimidating Vindman from testifying or performing his job.”
“Vindman’s facts do not plausibly suggest that defendants agreed to intimidate him so as to prevent him from testifying or doing his job, or to unlawfully retaliate against him,” Boasberg wrote.
Vindman, notes CNN, is a now-retired Army lieutenant colonel and national security official who testified against former President Donald Trump in his first impeachment hearing.
During the hearing, Vindman said that he had been present during a 2019 telephone call between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump purportedly pressured his Eastern European counterpart to launch an investigation against the Biden family.
Vindman was so alarmed by Trump’s conduct that he reported the conversation to his superiors.
After Vindman spoke before Congress and suggested that the conversation between Trump and Zelensky was “inappropriate,” he was removed from his position in the White House.
In his dismissal, Boasberg said that “history will be the final judge of Vindman’s actions and the former Administration’s response,” adding that the “plaintiff’s pled facts, taken as true, certainly suggest that Defendants leveled harsh, meanspirited, and at times misleading attacks against him. But political hackery alone does not violate” the law.
CNN reports that Boasberg explored at length the ways in which the Trump administration’s tactics seemed designed to harm Vindman, causing the former White House official to lose his job.
After Vindman’s dismissal from the White House, he and his family say they feared for their safety after being repeatedly threatened by Trump allies online.
“Defendants’ actions had consequences, and while the Court is duty bound to apply governing legal standards, it nonetheless pauses to recognize the real harm that their attacks inflicted on Vindman and his family,” Boasberg wrote in his opinion.
However, while Boasberg acknowledged that Vindman was “dragged into a media firestorm,” he stressed that his ruling does not address, assess, or refute the validity of the Trump administration’s political attacks on Vindman.