Gibson Dunn partner denies conflict of interest in Qatar hacking case

Gibson Dunn partner denies conflict of interest in Qatar hacking case

NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) – A partner at the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm and former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor denied late on Monday that she had a conflict of interest in defending a man accused by a former Donald Trump fundraiser of hacking e -his posts on behalf of Qatar.

Gibson Dunn last August withdrew from the defense of former CIA officer Kevin Chalker and his company Global Risk Advisors in a 2019 lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court by Elliott Broidy, who raised money for Trump and pleaded guilty in October 2020 for an unrelated illegal lobbying activity. .

Broidy had accused Gibson Dunn partner Zainab Ahmad, who worked on Chalker’s defense, of having a conflict because she was investigating the alleged hacking while working for special counsel Robert Mueller. Between 2017 and 2019, Mueller investigated Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election.

U.S. District Judge Mary Vyskocil, who is overseeing the case, said in a hearing last October that Gibson Dunn’s withdrawal from the case “doesn’t smell good” and let Broidy go to sanction the firm.

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The firm urged Vyskocil to reject the proposal in its filing Monday night, arguing it had no conflict and was acting in good faith.

“I was not involved in any investigation into Mr. Broidy, including any investigation into Mr. Broidy being hacked,” Ahmad said in a sworn statement. “I have never learned any confidential information regarding any issue relevant to this ongoing litigation.”

Broidy’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Gibson Dunn said Global Risk Advisors and Chalker decided to go with another firm “purely based on their own business interests” rather than because of “the merits of any alleged conflict.”

Broidy, an outspoken critic of Qatar’s government, said in the lawsuit that the Middle Eastern country’s government hired Global Risk Advisors to hack his emails, some of which were leaked to the media. Qatar, Chalker and the company have all denied his claims.

In their Feb. 23 motion for sanctions, Broidy’s lawyers said Gibson Dunn should pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees they incurred to investigate and address the potential conflict.

The case is Broidy et al v. Global Risk Advisors LLC et al, US District Court, Southern District of New York, 1:19-cv-11861.

For Broidy: Daniel Benson, Andrew Kurland, Henry Brownstein and Sarah Leivick of Kasowitz Benson Torres

For GRA: Kevin Carroll and Marc Weinstein of Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Luc Cohen

Thomson Reuters

Reports of the Federal Courts of New York. Has previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.

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