DNC Loses Request to Serve Kushner With Russia Suit by Mail

(Bloomberg) -- The Democratic National Committee struck out again in its attempt to notify Jared Kushner that he was sued in April for allegedly colluding with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.

A federal judge denied the DNC’s request to use U.S. Postal Service first-class mail to deliver the complaint without a signature, after more formal attempts to alert President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser of the litigation failed.

"Service is not intended to be a game for the serving party or the party to be served," U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in New York said in his decision Tuesday. "The court is confident that the DNC’s counsel can contact Kushner’s counsel and arrange a mutually convenient means to effectuate service."

The DNC tried to serve Kushner with a summons at his Manhattan apartment (three times), and was turned away by the Secret Service at his Washington address. It finally enlisted the U.S. Postal Service, only to be told it couldn’t deliver a package by certified mail because no one would sign for it.

On Wednesday, the DNC indicated that the judge’s denial may have been the result of a technicality and that it may file a new request.

"The court’s order suggests that the motion may have been denied as a result of a filing error, and we are working to fix it," DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.

The DNC had argued that because first-class mail doesn’t require a signature, the documents will remain at Kushner’s home -- and not be returned to sender -- even if no one signs a delivery receipt.

The DNC sued Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks in April, claiming widespread interference in the 2016 election as part of a “brazen attack on American democracy.” Kushner is named as a defendant in the complaint.

Koeltl in May granted the DNC’s request to enlist Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s department to formally serve Russia with the complaint through a provision of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Russia generally refuses to accept U.S. legal complaints in the mail, complicating the Democratic group’s suit over the meddling.

Michael Eisenkraft, a DNC lawyer, didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the decision. Representatives for the White House didn’t respond to email messages seeking comment.

The case is Democratic National Committee v. the Russian Federation, 18-cv-3501, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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