A Washington D.C lawyer who represented former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson during her testimony before the Jan 6 House Select Committee filed a lawsuit against the congressional panel for “propagating false narratives” about him and damaging his career.
Stefan Passantino submitted a Federal Tort Claims Act Complaint, amounting to a whopping $67 million, against the committee.
The lawyer accuses the committee of intentionally interfering with his client relationships, creating a false narrative, and neglecting his civil rights to go after President Donald Trump, NewsMax reports.
“Liz Cheney and her collaborators on the January 6th Committee decided to peddle a false tale about Mr. Passantino and his relationship with his client without any regard for the truth or whether they were destroying the reputation of a good man; a reputation built over decades,” Passantino’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, said in a statement.
The lawsuit accuses the Jan 6 committee of engaging in unauthorized communications with Hutchinson without Passantino’s consent or knowledge, violating the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship.
The complaint also alleges that those communications created a “false narrative,” propagated to news outlets by staff acting “outside of the scope of their legislative function.”
Hutchinson, the central witness for the Jan. 6 Committee, alleged that Trump attempted to commandeer his presidential limousine to drive himself to the election protests.
But Hutchinson’s claims were swiftly discredited after her sources denied her account of the events.
Not long before Hutchinson provided her testimony, she abruptly switched legal representation.
Before her appearance at the hearing, Passantino advised her throughout the process, involving three private depositions before the committee.
But after Hutchinson’s second deposition, she began collaborating with Jan. 6 Committee members without Passantino’s knowledge or consent, the complaint alleges.
“The Committee, through a backchannel directly to Mr. Passantino’s client, in total disregard for the attorney-client relationship, convinced Mr. Passantino’s client to sit for additional interviews and give incredible testimony that could then be peddled by national news media friendly to the Committee to damage Mr. Passantino,” the complaint says, according to Newsmax.
The passage appears to be referencing articles such as one published by CNN entitled, “Cassidy Hutchinson told the January 6 committee she felt pressure from Trump allies not to talk and instead risk ‘contempt.'”
The aforementioned article, which refers to transcripts of Hutchinson’s subsequent discussion with the committee, it reported Hutchinson was forced into enlisting Passantino’s services because the rates of other legal professionals were too expensive.
However, Passantino says he was kept from the meeting between the committee and Hutchinson.
After receiving her subpoena from the House, Hutchinson was introduced to Passantino after she contacted Trump’s Save America PAC for assistance in legal representation.
“Ms. Hutchinson never told Passantino that she wanted a ‘non-Trump’ lawyer or that she had any sensitivity about Mr. Passantino’s previous work in the Trump White House,” the complaint adds.
“She did not express reservations to Mr. Passantino about him being paid by a Trump-related PAC; instead, she had solicited that funding herself.”
The complaint further notes that the Jan. 6 committee did not ask Passantino for an interview or seek his response to the accusations against him.
As a result, the complaint alleges that the negative media coverage severely damaged Passantino’s legal career, forcing him to take a leave of absence.
“This is all a result of the Committee’s unjustifiable, outrageous, and malicious leaks of private information and interference in Mr. Passantino’s representation of his clients,” says the complaint.