Trump Lawyer Sued After Saying Cyber Official Should Be Shot

The former head of a U.S. cybersecurity agency sued one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, alleging a campaign of threats and defamation.

In a lawsuit filed in state court in Maryland on Tuesday, Christopher Krebs accused Trump lawyer Joseph diGenova and the Trump re-election campaign of stoking harassment against him after he issued a statement defending the results of the 2020 election.

After the vote, Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the election “the most secure in American history.” Trump retaliated on Twitter, firing Krebs and calling the statement “highly inaccurate.” Then, on Nov. 30, diGenova attacked Krebs in an appearance on Newsmax, saying he should be “drawn and quartered” and “taken out at dawn and shot.”

DiGenova’s statements prompted a barrage of harassment from the president’s supporters and put Krebs and his family in danger, according to the lawsuit. Newsmax is also named as a defendant, accused of aiding and abetting the alleged defamation.

Trump Lawyer Sued After Saying Cyber Official Should Be Shot

“The defendants issued an unlawful and inflammatory ‘call to action’ for plaintiff to suffer the fate of a convicted traitor,” Krebs said in the suit.

Newsmax called diGenova’s remarks “inappropriate” but said the lawsuit threatened free speech.

“Mr. diGenova is not a paid contributor to Newsmax,” which “has no official ties to him,” it said in a statement, adding that he has since appeared on the network and apologized, saying he made the comment “facetiously.” Newsmax said Krebs’s claims “of a ‘conspiracy’ and defamation against him are a threat to free speech and his legal action endangers all media organizations that seek an open discourse of ideas and news.”

DiGenova and the Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the suit.

A longtime associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, diGenova appears frequently on conservative talk shows to defend the president. He has played a public role in Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread election fraud as a member of the so-called “elite strike force” seeking to overturn the election results in court. His comments on Newsmax prompted an immediate outcry, including calls for him to be disbarred.

Krebs seeks damages of at least $75,000 and the removal of a video of diGenova’s remarks from the Newsmax archives.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.