Fired cybersecurity chief sues Trump lawyer over call for him to be shot

Mr Krebs was axed in November - not long after confirming there was no fraud in 2020 election 

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 08 December 2020 17:05 GMT
Chris Krebs says Trump campaign legal claims 'farcical'

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Fired cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs is reportedly suing one of president Trump's lawyers for saying he should be shot.

Mr Krebs, former head of the US government's cybersecurity agency, has filed a lawsuit against Joseph diGenova claiming defamation and distress.

He is seeking monetary damages and demanding the removal of a threatening video held by Newsmax, the outlet where Mr diGenova made the comments, The New York Times reports.

Mr Krebs's lawsuit also claims that Newsmax works closely with Mr diGenova to amplify his attacks on his political opponents, according to the report.

Newsmax has become the favoured media company of Mr Trump and his loyalists as it continues giving air time to their false claims of voter fraud.

Mr Krebs, a lifelong Republican, was axed as the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on 17 November, weeks after the election.

He was given his marching orders after confirming that the election was the cleanest in history, adding: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

His complaint says that Mr diGenova and Newsmax “hoped to promote and encourage unlawful threats toward, and actual violence upon [Krebs] and Republicans like him—for speaking the truth and performing his constitutional duties without regard to ‘party loyalty.’”

Both Newsmax and Mr diGenova deny that the comments incited violence.

“Anyone who heard the interview knows that it was obviously sarcasm meant in jest,” Mr diGenova told the Daily Beast last month.  

“Of course, I wish Mr Krebs no harm whatsoever.”

Newsmax conceded that the comments, made on Boston's The Howie Carr Show, but simulcast on Newsmax, were "inappropriate".

But the outlet said Mr Krebs's complaint is a threat to free speech.

"Newsmax believes that claims made by Mr Krebs in his suit of a ‘conspiracy’ and defamation against him are a threat to free speech and his legal action endangers all media organizations that seek an open discourse of ideas and news,” a company spokesperson said.

“Mr diGenova is not a paid contributor to Newsmax... [he] has appeared on Newsmax since then on two occasions stating he made the comment ‘facetiously’ and apologised.”

Mr Krebs said he filed the suit so that he and others from his party are not "intimidated into silence".

“We need to make it clear that these behaviours are not acceptable in a civil society,” he added.

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