I will give The New York Observer (formerly owned by Trump’s favorite son-in-law aide Jared Kushner) the benefit of the doubt — maybe their writer actually just doesn’t understand how the law works. On Saturday, the paper went with the headline Court Admits DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schulz Rigged Primaries Against Sanders.
Except that is not what happened at all. It’s, to borrow a term, “fake news.” Mistake or not, it sure looks like this article was printed to make Clinton and the DNC look bad.
We reported the actual facts in our article on Friday. A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by hundreds of Bernie Sanders supporters alleging fraud by the Democratic National Committee. In the lawsuit which was filed last June, the plaintiffs contend that the DNC “actively concealed its bias” from its donors and supporters and was in cahoots with the Clinton campaign to tip the scales in her favor. The Bernie backers claimed that emails released through Wikileaks bolstered their case even further. But, in an opinion released Friday, a federal judge shot them down and said they don’t have a case — at least not legally.
Here is where The Observer got a list confused. The judge wrote:
“The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign.
But, you see, in a motion to dismiss, the judge does NOT investigate the facts of the lawsuit. But, rather, he assumes the facts are accurate (or views them mostly favorably) and decides whether — even if the facts alleged are proven out — if the plaintiffs have a case. The judge found that the Bernie Backers did not have a legal case against Wasserman or the DNC. Judge William Zloch did NOT make any factual findings about whether the election was rigged in favor of Clinton. That headline and story by The Observer is just misleading.
“Since this was a motion for dismissal on standing and other grounds, a court will assume all facts in favor of the non-moving party. In other words, a court will say that ‘even if you were to prove all of these allegations, you would still not have a case.” wrote George Washington Law Professor Jonathan Turley.
Legal misunderstanding? It sure seems like it (at the very least.)
Clarification: Kushner transferred his ownership stake in The Observer to a family trust upon joining the White House.
Update August 28, 2017: The Observer has since changed their headline and clarified the meaning of the judge’s order.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.