Tulsi Gabbard’s $50million lawsuit moves forward after Hilary Clinton’s lawyer accepts documents
- Hawaii congresswoman’s lawyer said now they could focus on ‘merits’ of case
- The 2020 candidate is suing Ms Clinton for $50million over the Russian claims
- Ms Gabbard accuses Ms Clinton of promoting ‘dubious conspiracy theories’
A $50 million defamation lawsuit filed against Hillary Clinton is progressing onto the next stage as the former Secretary of State’s legal team accepts legal paperwork.
After three attempts to rebuff the documents, a lawyer for Ms Clinton has reportedly been served the papers that will allow 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s case to proceed.
The Hawaii congresswoman’s lawyer, Brian Dunne, told Fox News it was looking forward to finally moving forward on ‘the merits of the case’ after previous failed attempts to serve Ms Clinton with the papers.
The Democratic presidential hopeful is suing Clinton for $50million over an interview last year in which the 2016 nominee suggested that Gabbard was the ‘favorite of the Russians’.
Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard (pictured on the debate stage in Atlanta last November) is suing Hillary Clinton for $50million
However, her legal team had struggled to get the process underway, as until yesterday it was reported Ms Clinton’s team was refusing to accept the papers.
On Thursday Gabbard’s lawyers said they were turned away by the Secret Service and later by Clinton’s attorney when they tried to deliver the paperwork in person at her residence in Chappaqua, New York.
Gabbard’s attorney Brian Dunne told the New York Post that Clinton was ‘so intimidated by Tulsi Gabbard that she won’t accept service of process’.
Gabbard’s camp says the agents directed them to Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall, who initially said he could not accept the papers on her behalf, before finally doing so later on Thursday.
Gabbard filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan last week, accusing Clinton of promoting ‘extremely dubious conspiracy theories’.
The lawsuit alleges that Clinton ‘harmed her political and personal rival’s reputation and ongoing presidential campaign’.
The former Secretary of State is also accused of starting a ‘damaging whisper campaign based on baseless, but vicious, untruths’.
Gabbard’s lawyers claim that Clinton holds a ‘special hatred and animosity for Tulsi’ for backing Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary campaign.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill last week described the lawsuit as ‘ridiculous’.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (pictured in California earlier this month) suggested that Tulsi Gabbard was a ‘favorite of the Russians’
As a public figure, Gabbard must show that the defendant acted with actual malice to recover damages from Clinton.
In addition, US courts have said in the past that ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ associated with politics is constitutionally protected speech.
The row turns on a podcast last year in which Clinton suggested to former Obama aide David Plouffe that Gabbard was the ‘favorite of the Russians’.
‘She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,’ Clinton said.
Clinton did not name Gabbard, but there have been no claims of Russian backing for any other female Democrat in the race.
Her spokesman Merrill later indicated that Gabbard was the candidate she had in mind, saying: ‘If the nesting doll fits’.
Gabbard retorted by calling Clinton ‘the queen of warmongers… and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.’
The 38-year-old has long been regarded as an outlier in the Democratic party and raised eyebrows by visiting Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in 2017.
She also questioned whether Assad was behind a chemical weapons attack which killed dozens in Syria the same year, as intelligence services believe.
Gabbard also voted ‘present’ on the two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, saying he was ‘guilty of wrongdoing’ but should not be removed from office.