Defense attorney Daniel Horowitz
A federal judge has dismissed an attempt by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to re-file a lawsuit against Air Force special agent P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris, the father-and-son team that investigated and exposed the group’s terrorist ties.
Defense lawyers are hailing the decision as a victory over CAIR’s alleged plan to “chill” free speech critical of the organization through an avalanche of court cases and legal costs.
“We briefed, counter-briefed, we spent thousands of dollars on the case,” said Daniel Horowitz, one of the three lawyers for the defense. “Only then did they file this new lawsuit, which would have effectively forced us to start all over.”
“But the new lawsuit didn’t have anything substantively new,” Horowitz told WND. “And yet, that’s their whole goal. They know they can’t win the case, but they can chill the First Amendment by making it so expensive to speak against them that no one can challenge Saudi-funded CAIR. In the end, they can just keep getting more and more money from overseas and burn out opposition with lawsuits.”
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, however, “denied as moot” CAIR’s request to re-file the case. CAIR now has until March 1 to re-file “an appropriate motion for leave to amend.”
“The judge looked at papers and said, ‘Look, you don’t have a right to do this; everything was fully briefed; you had your opportunity,’” Horowitz explained.
“In terms of the First Amendment, it’s a powerful ruling,” Horowitz continued, “because it recognizes that by chilling free speech, you undermine it, even if you lose the case in the end. CAIR was trying to exploit that to the max, and the judge said no.”
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad shakes hands with intern Chris Gaubatz, aka David Marshall, at CAIR’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2008
As WND reported, Chris Gaubatz served a six-month CAIR internship in 2008 posing as a young Muslim convert. During that time, he was told to shred certain documents, which he instead retained, providing key evidence for the book “Muslim Mafia”, published last fall by WND Books.
The newest legal action brought by CAIR, Horowitz claims, was simply
another attempt at playing a name shell game. CAIR left the case almost
completely intact but switched the name of the organization, a move
Horowitz takes as a sign of potential victory in the original case.
CAIR’s original lawsuit alleges Chris Gaubatz obtained access to CAIR property under false pretenses and removed the internal documents and made recordings of officials and employees “without any consent or authorization and in violation of his contractual, fiduciary and other legal obligations to CAIR.”
The publisher of “Muslim Mafia,” WND CEO Joseph Farah, however, asserted the CAIR material was legally obtained by Gaubatz, who had been asked by CAIR officials “to shred documents he believed might be criminal evidence … and involve matters of national security.”
“On advice from counsel, he collected those documents and preserved them. None of the documents were ‘stolen,’” Farah said.
Horowitz also argues that even if the case had any viability, it is moot because CAIR now has its documents back and CAIR’s attorney has retracted his initial objections to a subpoena, served by the FBI, to turn over copies of the documents to a federal grand jury.
Furthermore, CAIR does not defend itself in the lawsuit against the book’s claim that the self-described Muslim civil-rights group is a front in a conspiracy by the Egypt-based mother organization of leading worldwide terrorist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, to pave the way for Saudi-style Islamic law in the U.S. Nor does the case explicitly list damages done to the organization by “Muslim Mafia,” Horowitz argues.
Horowitz noted to WND that normally, if a party believes a book is deliberately false, it will sue for defamation.
“Truth is a defense,” he said, “and we have always been willing to debate CAIR in a public forum or in the courts on these issues.”
Horowitz said the First Amendment protects his clients from the charges CAIR makes in its complaint and subsequent filings.
But Horowitz also has argued CAIR has no claim because it does not legally exist. Horowitz explained that CAIR changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network almost immediately after it was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history
“CAIR forms groups, dissolves them, takes credit for them or disclaims them as it sees fit,” he told WND.
“In re-filing the newest lawsuit, CAIR pretty much admitted the
old lawsuit is defective: CAIR doesn’t exist, so they tried to file
under a different name,” Horowitz told WND. “By filing this amendment,
they thought they could avoid explaining why they did something wrong,
but the judge has said, ‘No, you have to explain.’
“Now CAIR will have to either try to explain to the court why
it used a fake name to start the case, and show it was honest mistake,”
Horowitz continued, “or they will have to try to argue that the new
lawsuit is somehow different from the old lawsuit, which I don’t think
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND’s author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR’s lawsuit. Already, the book’s revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can’t do it without your help. Please donate to WND’s Legal Defense Fund now.