Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump’s son and allies alleging that they retaliated against him for testifying at Trump’s first impeachment, The Washington Post reports.
Vindman filed a 72-page lawsuit naming Donald Trump Jr., former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, and former White House deputy communications director Julia Hahn.
The suit accuses the Trump allies of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which makes it illegal to conspire to interfere with a federal official’s ability to carry out their duties.
The suit seeks “long-overdue accountability for unlawful actions knowingly undertaken by close associates and allies” of Trump, alleging that they “engaged in an intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation against [Vindman] to prevent him from and then punish him for testifying truthfully before Congress during impeachment proceedings against President Trump.”
Vindman says he was targeted:
Vindman, who served as a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, testified that he listened to Trump’s ill-fated call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pressuring him to investigate President Joe Biden.
After being subpoenaed in the probe, Vindman alleges that he became the target of a witness-intimidation campaign. Vindman claims Trump and his allies coordinated strategy, pushed false narratives about his loyalty to the US, and leaked classified information.
The administration also removed him and his twin brother from the National Security Council and sought to derail his promotion, according to the lawsuit.
“Defendants’ campaign against Lt. Col. Vindman was designed to inflict maximum damage by creating and spreading disinformation that they knew would be picked up and amplified by anchors at Fox News, other right-wing media outlets, and across social media — all while Lt. Col. Vindman’s active duty status prevented him from effectively defending himself,” the complaint says.
The suit accuses Hahn of funneling messaging to Fox News hosts like Laura Ingraham.
Vindman said he retired in 2020 due to “bullying” and “intimidation.”
“The actions taken by Defendants against Lt. Col. Vindman sent a message to other potential witnesses as well: cooperate and tell the truth at your own peril,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensation for the “injuries he suffered as a result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct” and punitive damages and legal fees.
“I don’t regret telling the truth either in private or during the public impeachment hearings,” Vindman wrote in a USA Today op-ed on Wednesday. “I did what I was trained and obligated to do as a longtime member of the U.S. Army and a federal official.”