Kansan Drops Suit Over Oscar-Winning Snowden Doc

     KANSAS CITY, Kan. (CN) – A Kansas man who sued the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to declare a documentary about Edward Snowden ineligible for an Oscar has voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.
     “Citizenfour” – which won an Academy Award for best documentary feature in February – is based on director Laura Poitras’s interviews in Hong Kong with Edward Snowden, the computer systems analyst who leaked classified documents to journalists in 2013 about the National Security Agency’s secret global surveillance program.
     In December 2014, Horace B. Edwards, a Topeka man and former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, sued Snowden, Poitras, Praxis Films, Participant Media, Diane Weyermann, Jeffrey Skoll and The Weinstein Company aka Radius TWC in Federal Court.
     In February, Edwards’ attorneys moved to file a second amended complaint adding the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and HBO as defendants.
     Edwards claimed that the defendants collaborated to “cloak Snowden’s illegal acts in the guise of righteousness and virtue” and portray Snowden as a “well-meaning whistleblower.”
     Edwards sought recovery of the loss of up to $100 billion in mandatory terrorism insurance on behalf of all Americans.
     He also sought a constructive trust over all profits and proceeds from the “publication, distribution, sale, serialization, or republication in any form of the work entitled ‘Citizenfour'” to ensure that “ill-gotten gains are disgorged” and relinquished to the United States, whose “national security has been seriously damaged.”
     In a single-page order filed on April 24, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson signed off on Edwards’ voluntary dismissal request, without prejudice.
     Edwards was represented by Jean Lamfers, of Shawnee, Kan., who filled Courthouse News in on her client’s motives for both filing the suit and dismissing it.
     “Mr. Edwards undertook his initial lawsuit because he understood, based upon reliable information, that the constructive trust, a deterrent remedy, had previously not been properly understood or considered,” Lamfers said. “As a result, Mr. Edwards believed the government had confused a case in which classified information is merely leaked to a reporter without their involvement versus a case in which an intelligence official intentionally steals classified information with the participation of the ultimate recipients before, during or after the theft, and are therefore not performing lawfully as either a journalist or a publisher.”
     She continued: “Having accomplished his goal of informing the United States government of a lawfully appropriate remedy, he achieved his initial goal and therefore chose to voluntarily dismiss the case without prejudice and allow the rule of law to operate as it should. The district court granted Mr. Edwards’ dismissal without prejudice.”
     Another lawfully appropriate remedy, in the nature of mandamus, could also be pursued, along with other remedies.
     “The story is not yet over,” Lamfers said.
     The defendants were represented by Bernard Rhodes with Lathrop & Gage of Kansas City, Mo.

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