Broidy seeks to pull Qatar back into litigation over alleged role in email hacking

Broidy’s lawyers picked up another shot at the emirate filed a lawsuit against him in August by an obscure travel company that claimed its Qatar-focused business was damaged by misinformation Broidy spread about Qatari links to terrorism.

In a lawsuit late Thursday, Broidy’s attorneys argue that the Delaware-based company – Mosafer – is acting as an excuse for the Qatari government. Broidy’s team claims the lawsuit is a means for him to contradict Qatar over its alleged role in hacking and distributing his emails to the media in 2018.

“In an extraordinarily bold abuse of the US legal system, Mosafer, an obscure baggage seller, seeks to stand firm able to obtain an injunction from a foreign government to silence an effective critic of that government. Mosafer, like the Wizard of Oz, is telling this court to ignore the obvious and ‘ignore the man behind the curtain’ – the State of Qatar, “wrote Broidy’s attorneys at the McGuireWoods law firm. “This complaint is nothing more than Qatar’s latest attempt to silence one of its harshest critics. . The cladding is so thin that it is completely transparent. “

A Mosafer attorney, Stephen Larson, has denied that Mosafer is acting on behalf of the Qatar government.

“Our client is a private individual whose business and livelihood have been negatively impacted by the actions of the defendants and the blockade of his home state,” said Larson in an email to POLITICO. “He only brought this case in to obtain compensation for his enormous financial resources and moral losses. Unfortunately, Mr. Broidy is following his usual practice in trying to politicize a commercial lawsuit brought by a private individual and a private company with no political agenda and no affiliation with any government. “

Spokesmen for the Qatari embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While it seems obvious that the travel company’s interests are closely tied to the Qatari government, Broidy’s new submission claims that there is evidence that Mosafer and Qatari officials coordinated to target Qatari critics.

Broidy’s counterclaim points to more than two dozen “John Doe” lawsuits that Qatar’s official government communications bureau filed in US courts as of 2018 to identify individuals criticizing the emirate anonymously online.

The new court record alleges that Qatari officials used the litigation to determine the identity of the companies involved, and Matthew Atkinson, a communications specialist from the Washington area, then passed the information on to Mosafer.

Mosafer’s lawsuit alleges that the falsehoods spread by Broidy and others about Qatar’s support for terrorism damaged the company’s travel business, but Broidy claims that there is little evidence that the company actually operated such trips and that trips to Qatar were made during the period in question in the lawsuit.

In the Mosafer case, Broidy is liable for damages in part for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act by failing to register in connection with his work for the United Arab Emirates, which conflict with Qatar on a variety of issues.

Broidy pleaded guilty last October of plotting against FARA in connection with his work for Malaysian interests. The facts Broidy admitted in that plea did not include his work for the UAE or against Qatar, but the government agreed under the deal not to charge him over these issues.

Prosecutors said they planned to bring up the issue at Broidy’s conviction, but shortly before former President Donald Trump stepped down, he pardoned the prolific fundraiser and political ally.

The law firm that Mosafer is representing in the current litigation, Larson LLP, was founded by former Trump National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who now holds the title of Associate Emeritus with the firm.

O’Brien is not listed on the case as an attorney assigned to Los Angeles-based U.S. District Court Judge Mark Scarsi, a case assigned by Trump.

A former acting legal advisor at the State Department, Mark Feldman, said the counterclaim appears to be an attempt to take advantage of it a 1983 Supreme Court decision which allows judges to override sovereign immunity when a country is already trying to act in US courts through an “alter ego” that Feldman called.

“It’s a very important precedent,” Feldman said, adding that Broidy is likely to face an uphill battle to prove that Mosafer is essentially a front for Qatar. “It sounds very confused. It also sounds very resourceful and weak to me.”

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