A lawsuit alleges the American Civil Liberties Union and several of its attorneys violated their fiduciary duty and attorney-client relationship by “defaming” whistleblower Dennis Montgomery, who has been linked to the National Security Agency’s spy-on-Americans program.
“This professional misconduct and illegality cannot be permitted by members of the bar, and it is despicable,” said attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch.
Klayman has represented Montgomery in several cases, including when Montgomery was drawn into Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s case regarding immigration policies.
“The ACLU will be held to account under the rule of law for the huge damage it has caused Mr. Montgomery. This self-styled protector of the civil liberties is itself a fraud, as it puts its own liberal agenda ahead of its professional responsibilities,” he said.
The case names the ACLU; its president, Susan Herman; Cecillia Wang of the Immigrants’ Rights Project; Daniel Pochada of the Arizona office; Michael German; Andre Segura; and Joshua Bendor.
The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Miami.
Klayman, a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. Justice Department, alleges Montgomery sought legal assistance from the ACLU regarding his interaction with cases involving the NSA and the CIA. Klayman explains Montgomery has information “much like the disclosures of Edward Snowden,” but his information is “potentially much more egregious.”
Klayman already has won a trial court judgment that the NSA’s spy program likely is unconstitutional.
“Montgomery sought to come forward legally and before government authorities and this was the primary reason for him entering into an attorney client relationship with the ACLU and its attorneys,” Klayman explained.
But the ACLU failed to carry through with its representation and instead, in an unrelated federal lawsuit in Arizona against Arpaio, attacked and defamed Montgomery, who had been hired by Arpaio, the case alleges.
The case alleges the ACLU pursued this course of action “to further the interests of other clients seeking to punish the sheriff for his law enforcement against illegal aliens in Maricopa Country.”
“The ACLU went so far as to falsely publicly accuse Montgomery in court and in the media of being found to be a con man and committing crimes, in conjunction with Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies. Thus, the complaint alleges that in their zeal to destroy Arpaio, the ACLU intentionally harmed its client Montgomery,” Klayman said.
That was when Judge G. Murray Snow stayed proceedings until a dispute over his own involvement could be resolved.
Snow’s decision came after a second motion for his removal arrived in U.S. District Court. A previous motion, filed by Klayman on behalf of Montgomery, was rejected both by Snow and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Klayman then submitted a request for reconsideration.
At the center of the effort to remove the judge from the case is a statement from a witness, Karen Morris Grissom, who told the sheriff the judge hates him. The witness explained to Arpaio that she was a childhood friend of the judge’s wife.
Mrs. Snow, Grissom said, “told me that her husband hates u and will do anything to get u out of office.”
“This has bothered me since last year when I saw her.”
The latest effort to remove Snow came from A. Melvin McDonald and Michele Iafrate, who have been representing Arpaio in a case that stemmed from claims the sheriff failed to follow the court’s orders regarding his department’s policing procedures.
The original case was based on claims the sheriff’s office profiled “Latino motorists,” and Snow issued a preliminary injunction for that to stop. The present proceedings are over whether those orders were followed.
WND also reported Montgomery’s involvement in a case in Washington in which Klayman asked a federal judge to interview him in secret “about the unconstitutional and illegal surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency that is highly relevant and of crucial important … as he worked closely with these agencies following the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.”
The newest claim, against the ACLU, which seeks tens of millions of dollars in damages, alleges breach of fiduciary duty, professional malpractice, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
It alleges German “engaged in an attorney-client relationship on behalf of the ACLU” and several of the other defendants played a role in the Arpaio case.
Others are executives of the organization.
The complaint explains Montgomery “consulted with the ACLU and the other defendants … with regard to his efforts as a whistleblower having information about the unconstitutional and illegal acts by the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. government intelligence agencies.”
He shared confidential information with the defendants, allowing an “attorney-client relationship” to be established.
“However, the defendants subsequently neglected to actually help Montgomery with the ordinary standard of care required of lawyers,” the complaint alleges.
“Then the defendants suddenly began attacking and defaming Dennis Montgomery, starting in April 2015, as part of their attacks on Sheriff Joe Arpaio,” the filing states.
The complaint alleges various people, including Montgomery, were “engaged in an illegal criminal conspiracy.”
“Defendants’ intent was to destroy Sheriff Arpaio and plaintiff as they were seen as adverse to defendants’ immigration agenda, which is based on having as many illegal aliens remain in the United States such that they can ultimately get voter cards and vote for leftist and Democrat political candidates.”
Klayman wrote that the defendants “have become so motivated by their deep-seated hatred for and opposition to Sheriff Arpaio and his office, who they claim violated the civil rights of illegal immigrants, that they are wiling to harm other clients.”
The complaint alleges the defendants “twisted, misrepresented and falsified facts concerning these events in public and in court pleadings in their hatred of and their determination to harm Sheriff Arpaio.”
One report cited said Pochoda stated, “This guy [Sheriff Arpaio] hired a person [Dennis Montgomery] previously found to be a con man.
“The factual assertion that Dennis Montgomery is ‘a con man,’ and that he has been previously found to be a con man, is defamation per se,” the complaint alleges. Since the basis for the allegation was services Montgomery provided to the government, “the defendants’ statement is not only a false representation of criminal conduct, but also constitutes the making of false statements to the U.S. government which is a crime.”
The claim also alleges that Montgomery “cannot fully defend himself … because of legal restrictions on what he can disclose under the national security laws of the United States.”
While Montgomery is a private citizen, the defendants have “harmed and are harming Dennis Montgomery for the purpose of advancing the ACLU’s goals to further illegal immigration.”