Nunes, an outspoken ally of President Donald Trump, filed numerous, arguably frivolous lawsuits against political opponents in 2019.
A federal judge has dismissed Rep. Devin Nunes’s complaint against Fusion GPS, the firm which released a dossier detailing collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government.
In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady found that Nunes’s complaint was too vague to warrant further consideration. Furthermore, O’Grady suggested that a Virginia court wasn’t the right place for the lawsuit anyway.
O’Grady, notes the Fresno Bee, didn’t bother hearing oral arguments from Nunes—a California Republican and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee–or his legal team. In fact, O’Grady said that a hearing wouldn’t even “aid in the decisional process.”
“Defendants raise significant questions and make meritorious arguments as to both the sufficiency of the factual pleadings and the Court’s jurisdiction over these Defendants,” O’Grady wrote, adding that Nunes’s complaint falls short of legal expectations. “The Amended Complaint includes many rote statements of law and conclusory allegations which fall short of satisfying the pleading standard.”
Nunes, reports The Hill, had sought $9.9 million in damages from Fusion GPS and its founder, Glenn Simpson. He’d also been seeking recompense from Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog.
Nunes says he was the victim of “active, coordinated and ongoing corruption, fraud and obstruction of justice by the defendants.” According to his lawsuit, Fusion GPS and other conspiratorial actors targeted Nunes because of his House Intelligence Committee investigation into the firm’s role in alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
A staunch Trump defender, Nunes said Fusion GPS had been illegally working to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency. He’s also claimed that FBI investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and White House were similarly baseless or unlawful.
One way or another, Nunes’s opponents are happy to see the suit discarded. Campaign for Accountability’s executive director, Daniel Stevens, said in a statement that his organization “applauded the court’s decision to dismiss this frivolous lawsuit. The allegations in the complaint were obviously absurd and did not warrant any consideration.”
“Moreover,” Stevens added, “attempts by Nunes to stifle critics through well-funded lawsuits is an affront to the First Amendment. Nunes should not be allowed to abuse his power to force critics to stand silent in the face of his misconduct. We are gratified that the court put an end to this nonsense.”
However, Nunes’s lawsuit against Fusion GPS wasn’t a standalone attempt to litigate.
The Bee says that the case “is the first of the six lawsuits Nunes filed in 2019 to be dismissed by a judge.” But that doesn’t mean it’s the only one of the six to have fallen flat. Another of Nunes’s lawsuits, for instance, challenged a San Joaquin Valley resident’s assertion that Nunes himself isn’t actually a farmer. Nunes’s campaign later dropped the lawsuit.