CHICAGO (CN) – Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page sued the Democratic National Committee on Thursday, claiming it funded the development of a controversial dossier intended to smear then-candidate Donald Trump and members of his campaign.
Page served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump during his 2016 presidential election campaign, and runs a consulting firm specializing in the Russian oil and gas business.
His federal lawsuit filed in Chicago claims the DNC hired the law firm Perkins Coie as an adviser to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which in turn hired the research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump.
“As part of this effort, defendants developed a dossier replete with falsehoods about numerous individuals associated with the Trump campaign — especially Dr. Page. Defendants then sought to tarnish the Trump campaign and its affiliates (including Dr. Page) by publicizing this false information,” the complaint states (parentheses in original).
Page claims Fusion GPS paid former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to write 17 fake intelligence memoranda indicating that Trump attended secret meetings at the Kremlin with Page, then released them to the press fully knowing the story was concocted for political reasons.
“The DNC and the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $12.6 million for its services. In turn, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million, of which Steele received $168,000,” the lawsuit states.
The so-called Steele dossier implied that Russia possessed some salacious tapes featuring Trump paying prostitutes to perform a “golden shower,” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin used the threat of releasing these videos to unduly influence Trump.
It also specifically accused Page of timing the release of hacked emails provided to the Trump campaign by WikiLeaks in order to swing supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders away from Clinton.
“Defendants’ efforts mobilized the news media against Dr. Page, damaging his reputation, and effectively destroying his once-private life,” the complaint states. "The defendants’ wrongful actions convinced many Americans that Dr. Page is a traitor to the United States, and as a result he has received—and continues to receive—multiple death threats."
Steele also allegedly provided his reports to the FBI, which took them seriously, and they were the basis for the agency’s FISA warrant applications to wiretap Page’s phone. The agency has since acknowledged that the grounds for its surveillance of Page were baseless, he says.
“Defendants simply did not care that Fusion GPS’s reports were comprised of outlandish, unsourced conspiracy theories,” the complaint states. "The DNC, through Perkins Coie, Elias, and Sussman, hired Fusion GPS not to report the truth, but to create dirt. And they forged ahead with disseminating the defamatory information produced by Fusion GPS to further defendants’ own political ambitions.”
Page seeks punitive damages for claims of defamation, tortuous interference, and conspiracy. He is represented by John Pierce with Pierce Bainbridge in Los Angeles
The DNC said in a statement: “Carter Page's baseless claims are recycled from his previous lawsuit, which was dismissed last year.”
Page filed a similar lawsuit last year in Oklahoma, but it was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction after a federal judge found that both Page and the DNC lacked substantive ties to the state.
His claim to jurisdiction in Illinois stems from the location of Perkins Coie’s office in Chicago, which he says was the office that directed the firm’s work with the DNC.
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