Carter Page’s Terror Claims Extinguished on Appeal

MANHATTAN (CN) — Sweeping his terror claims into the courthouse dustbin, the Second Circuit on Monday rejected claims from former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page that so-called fake news about him puts his personal safety at risk.

Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, speaks with reporters on Nov. 2, 2017, following a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A 48-year old former financial executive, Page filed suit pro se against the media conglomerate Oath Inc., taking aim at several articles published by Yahoo News and Huffington Post that concerned his connection to Russian officials. 

Page disputes the reports that the FBI was investigating his role in coordinating with Russia to lift economic sanctions should then-candidate Trump win the election. Because he claims the reports resulted in death threats, however, Page alleged more than mere defamation, seeking to hold Oath liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

U.S District Judge Schofield dismissed the suit in March 2018, remarking in her order “that any effort to replead a federal claim against Oath or its subsidiaries would be futile.”

Page appealed nevertheless, however, but the Second Circuit affirmed dismissal Monday, just over a week after oral arguments.

Clocking in at just 11 pages, the unsigned summary order says Page failed to plausibly state that defamation and propaganda are acts of terrorism.

“As the district court correctly held, Page failed to allege any facts suggesting that the articles in question were intended to intimidate or coerce civilians, influence government policy, or affect government conduct,” the three-judge panel wrote.

“Instead, Page focused on different acts by non‐parties to attempt to show that the elements of terrorism were met, but those acts have no bearing on whether Oath intended to intimidate civilians or influence government policy,” the opinion continues.

As for Page’s argument that he was denied a fair hearing and deserved the chance to refile an amended suit, the Second Circuit backed Schofield’s conclusion that Page failed to raise any allegations showing that Oath had the requisite intent to coerce a civilian population, influence government policy or affect government conduct, as required under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

The panel also found that Page had failed to address the holding that the terrorism law does not apply to U.S. agencies like the Broadcasting Board of Governors, now known as the United States Agency for Global Media, which Page had also named as a defendant.

Page had invoked the Federal Tort Claims Act as well, but the Second Circuit said he failed to meet this law’s requirement that a plaintiff exhaust administrative remedies by filing a claim for monetary damages with the appropriate federal entity within two years of accrual of the injury.

Because this law also includes a two-year statute of limitations, the opinion notes that Page’s FTCA claims arising from events occurring prior to July 2017 expired in July 2019 and are now “forever barred.”

U.S. Circuit Judges Richard Sullivan, Amalya Kearse and Michael Park concurred.

Oath Inc. was represented before the court by David Parker with the firm Hunton Andrews Kurth in Richmond, Virginia.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Seungkun Cha-Kim.

Representatives for Carter Page, Oath and the United States Agency for Global Media did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. 

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