Back in March, Donald Trump filed his insane RICO LOLsuit against Hillary Clinton, her BFF James Comey, and half of DC. Trump’s sparklemagic lawyer Alina Habba joined forces with his former boarding school roommate Peter Ticktin to allege a vast leftwing conspiracy to ruin poor Donald Trump’s life by getting the FBI to investigate efforts by foreign powers seeking to help him get elected.
Russia, if you’re listening …
The conspiracy as described suffered from multiple obvious legal defects, as we have already pointed out multiple times:
To wit: the statute of limitations for civil RICO, injurious falsehood, malicious prosecution, and Stored Communications Act claims has tolled; DNS lookup data is not a “secret,” much less a trade secret, and thus collecting it can’t be “theft of trade secrets” to form the predicate for a civil RICO claim; the Justice Department defendants were allegedly colluding with the civilian defendants to hoodwink themselves into opening an investigation, which makes no goddamn sense; you can’t commit conspiracy with your own attorney; and the “actual malice” standard requires more than shouting “ACTUAL MALICE” over and over again.
After the dozens of defendants dutifully paid their lawyers to respond to this acid trip cum lawsuit, Trump amended his complaint to make it 85 pages crazier. And now, in response to yet another round of motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, his brain genius lawyers have come up with a brand new reason why the complaint isn’t time barred for a bunch of stuff which took place in 2016.
Donald Trump, who played golf at least 150 times during his term, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $144 million, was too busy presidenting to prosecute his claims, they argue, and thus the statute of limitations should be equitably tolled.
[F]or a majority of time that Defendants’ actions were underway—from January 20, 2017 through January 20, 2021—Plaintiff was serving as President of the United States. As such, he was preoccupied with carrying out his eminently important presidential duties and was therefore impeded from effectively asserting his rights. This fact, on its own, warrants an equitable tolling of all relevant statutes of limitations during that span of time.
That’s right, Donald Trump was “immersed in the diligent execution of his presidential duties” — i.e. braying on Twitter for the arrest of these self-same defendants — and was thus unable to assert his legal rights in timely fashion. In support of this position they cite Clinton v. Jones, in which the Supreme Court ordered Bill Clinton to sit for a civil deposition during his presidency, and Nixon v. Fitzgerald, which involved presidential immunity for official acts.
It all just makes too much sense!
Not for nothing, but the instant lawsuit wasn’t filed until March of 2022, a full 14 months after the defendant left the White House. So maybe if the former president was looking for a judicial grace period, he should have wandered in from the golf course a little earlier and mentioned this “unthinkable plot – one that shocks the conscience and is an affront to this nation’s democracy” and which is “so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison.”
Although points for having the chutzpah to write that sentence and then turn around and accuse the defendants of drafting a response that is “heavy on hyperbole and light on substance.”
Trump v. Clinton [Docket via Court Listener]
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.