Larry Klayman

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Larry Klayman
Born Larry Elliot Klayman
(1951-07-20) July 20, 1951 (age 63)
Occupation Attorney, activist
Political party
Republican

Larry Elliot Klayman (born July 20, 1951) is a politically conservative American public interest lawyer[1] and former Justice Department attorney who has been called a "Clinton nemesis"[2][3] for his dozens of lawsuits against the Bill Clinton administration in the 90s.[4][5][6] The founder of Judicial Watch[7][8] and the government watchdog group Freedom Watch,[9] he has brought legal action against former Vice President Dick Cheney,[10][11] President Barack Obama,[12][13] OPEC, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,[14] Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan,[15] Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg,[16][17] and the National Security Agency (NSA). In the last case, a federal judge ruled in December 2013 that the NSA's bulk collection of telephony metadata violated the Fourth Amendment.[18][19]

Life and career[edit]

Larry Klayman received his B.A. in Political Science from Duke University and his J.D. from Emory University Law School.[20][21]

During the Ronald Reagan administration, Klayman was a prosecutor in the United States Justice Department and was on the trial team that succeeded in breaking up the telephone monopoly of AT&T.[citation needed]

In 2004, Klayman ran for the United States Senate from Florida but lost in the United States Republican Party primary, finishing seventh out of eight candidates.[22]

After his run for the U.S. Senate, Klayman formed the organization Freedom Watch.[23] He says the name originated from an NBC episode of The West Wing in which he was caricatured as Harry Claypool.[24]

Klayman wrote the books Fatal Neglect and Whores: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment, and writes a weekly column for the conservative news website WorldNetDaily.

Klayman was born to Jewish parents, and identifies himself as "both a Jew and a Christian".[25][26]

Hardball tactics[edit]

Klayman's opponents denounce his relentless style of litigation, where he seems "undeterred by either criticism or setbacks," and claim he uses the court system as a "weapon" against his political enemies. In the 90s, Klayman deposed several White House officials, probing James Carville about his television habits, Paul Begala about his priest, and George Stephanopoulos about his traffic tickets. Carville publicly described Klayman as a "little twerp" and Klayman responded by grilling him about the statement during deposition. [27][6]

NBC's The West Wing parodied Klayman in an episode that aired in 2000. The following dialogue is cited from Washington Post Magazine, where Klayman was featured on the front cover:

"JOSH: This is the seventh lawsuit you've brought against the White House, and the fourth time you've deposed me and demanded to see documents that don’t exist. ... CLAYPOOL: I’d like to remind you that you’re under oath. SAM: And I’d like to remind you that that’s the seventh time that you’ve reminded him."[28]

Sanctions and discipline imposed[edit]

Following Klayman's behavior in a 1992 trial in California federal court, Judge William Keller barred Klayman from his courtroom for life; five years later, in a separate case in New York, Klayman's behavior led then district judge Denny Chin to issue a lifetime ban on the attorney practicing law before him.[29]

In 2007, Klayman received a $25,000 retainer from a Daytona Beach woman facing criminal charges[30] and she accused him of not providing legal services in return. The Florida Bar Association mediated the matter and Klayman agreed to pay off a small portion within 90 days, but after the deadline lapsed he was reprimanded by the association.[31][32]

In 2014, Klayman agreed to be publicly censured by the D.C. bar. Klayman represented three individuals who had sued Judicial Watch, his former employer and client, but he failed to obtain Judicial Watch's consent to waive his conflict of interest. Klayman maintained that the bar "recognized there was no evidence of dishonesty or personal gain."[33]

Lawsuits[edit]

The Clintons[edit]

Klayman is known for his litigious battles with the Bill Clinton White House in the 90s. His government watchdog group Judicial Watch (which he established in 1994) brought a reported 18 civil lawsuits against the administration, alleging ethical misconduct and criminal activity.[16][34] In one case, a federal judge ruled that Clinton violated the Privacy Act when he released personal letters[35] between him and a female White House volunteer. The woman had appeared on national television accusing him of making improper sexual advances, and Clinton claimed he released the letters to discredit her.[36] The judge determined this was an act of criminal intent, but that ruling was called "inappropriate" by the appellate court.[37][38][39][40]

In the Clinton-era fundraising scandal known as Chinagate, Judicial Watch was awarded nearly a million dollars in attorney fees against the U.S. Department of Commerce.[28]

Klayman represented Gennifer Flowers, who claimed to be one of Bill Clinton's mistresses, in a defamation suit against Hillary Clinton.[41]

Bill Clinton needled Klayman during a presidential press conference in 1999.[42]

Klayman filed a FOIA request, seeking access to Hillary Clinton's e-mails during her tenure as Secretary of State.[43]

In March 2015, Klayman filed a racketeering lawsuit against Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Foundation, alleging Hillary Clinton sold access to U.S. government officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.[44]

José Basulto[edit]

Klayman represented José Basulto[45] of the Cuban exile organization Brothers to the Rescue and won a $1.7 million judgment against Fidel Castro in 2005. The Cuban government shot down and killed four of Basulto's colleagues (and nearly himself) as they flew over international waters.[46][47]

Ground Zero mosque[edit]

In 2010, Klayman represented Vincent Forras in a lawsuit against Feisal Abdul Rauf to prevent the building of the so-called "Ground Zero mosque." In the motion to dismiss, Rauf's attorney called Klayman an "infamous publicity hound" and wrote that Forras "trades in his well deserved laurels for fifteen minutes of fame as a nationally recognized bigot." Klayman and Forras sought sanctions, but the court denied that request and dismissed the suit.[48] Klayman and Forras then sued Rauf and his attorney for defamation. The judge ruled this second lawsuit was a SLAPP suit, and it was dismissed.[49]

Facebook[edit]

In April 2011, Klayman filed a lawsuit against Facebook, accusing the social media website of "negligence" for not responding quickly enough to calls to take down an anti-Israel "Third Intifada" page and demanding $1 billion in damages. Facebook representatives responded that the suit was "without merit."[50] In December 2012, the district court dismissed the complaint on 47 U.S.C. 230 grounds.[51]

Esquire magazine[edit]

Also in 2011, Klayman represented Joseph Farah in his defamation lawsuit against Esquire magazine. A federal district judge dismissed the suit, and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the dismissal.[52][53][54]

Rachel Maddow[edit]

In July 2011, Klayman represented Bradlee Dean in a defamation suit against Rachel Maddow; the suit was unsuccessful and Dean was eventually ordered to pay defendants' legal fees that totaled nearly $25,000.[55][56]

SEAL Team 6[edit]

Klayman is representing families of members of Navy SEAL Team 6, the elite special forces who killed Osama bin Laden, who died after their helicopter was shot down by the Taliban three months later. Klayman contends the Obama administration put the Navy SEALs at risk by disclosing their identity.[57]

NSA[edit]

In June 2013, Klayman sued the Obama administration over the National Security Agency's collection of phone records. A federal judge agreed with Klayman that the program is likely unconstitutional, but stayed an injunction that would stop it pending an appeal by the U.S. government.[58]

Ebola[edit]

In October 2014, Klayman sued the Obama administration, claiming that it secretly allowed the Ebola virus to enter the United States so it could be used against Americans of the "Caucasian race and Jewish-Christian religion".[59]

Immigration[edit]

In November 2014, Klayman filed a lawsuit on behalf of Joe Arpaio, alleging that the Obama administration's actions regarding federal immigration policy were not authorized by Congress.[60] In December 2014, a federal court dismissed the lawsuit, concluding that Arpaio lacked standing to challenge the policy changes.[61] An appeals court has since ordered an accelerated hearing of the case. [62][63]

Defamation Lawsuits[edit]

Phoenix New Times and City Pages[edit]

In 2009, Klayman was involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife. In 2012, the City Pages and Phoenix New Times newspapers reported on the case, and Klayman sued them for defamation. In 2015, a federal court dismissed Klayman's defamation lawsuit, finding Klayman failed to prove that the newspapers published the articles with actual malice.[64]

Judicial Watch[edit]

In 2012, a Judicial Watch employee falsely told Orly Taitz that Klayman had been convicted of not paying child support (Klayman had been indicted, but the charges were later dismissed). Taitz then published the employee's comment on her website. Klayman sued Judicial Watch for defamation, and in 2014, a federal jury awarded Klayman $156,000 in compensatory damages and $25,000 in punitive damages.[65]

Klayman's mother[edit]

In 1998, Klayman sued his mother for $50,000, seeking reimbursement for medical care provided to his maternal grandmother. After Klayman's brother told Newsweek magazine of the lawsuit, Klayman alleged that the Clinton White House was responsible for the magazine acquiring the information.[29] In 2013, Klayman defended his actions in an interview with ABC News, and said it was "essentially a case against my stepfather" and that he named his mother "because legally she was next of kin." [66]

Challenges to presidential eligibility[edit]

Obama[edit]

In 2012, Klayman filed on behalf of a Florida resident an unsuccessful challenge to Barack Obama's placement on the primary ballot and claimed the president is not a natural-born citizen as required by the Constitution.[67]

In November 2012, Klayman represented the presidential candidate for the Constitution Party and a member of the Alabama Republican party, who alleged the Alabama Secretary of State had a duty to investigate Obama's eligibility. The trial court dismissed the complaint, and the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal. Chief Justice Roy Moore and another justice dissented, arguing the Secretary of State did have the authority to conduct such an investigation. Two other justices wrote concurring opinions that supported the dismissal and addressed the dissenting opinions.[68]

In 2013, a citizen grand jury formed by Klayman "convicted" Obama of fraud and alleged the president forged his birth certificate in order to pass eligibility requirements.[69][70]

On October 13, 2013, during the US government shutdown, Klayman urged a conservative rally in Washington, D.C., to begin a "second American non-violent Revolution" and demanded that President Obama "put the Quran down ... [and] figuratively come out with his hands up."[9] Weeks later, Klayman sponsored a "Reclaim America" rally in Lafayette Square across from the White House, calling for the president's removal.[71][72] Klayman had encouraged "millions to occupy Washington D.C.," but reported attendance was between 130 and 200.[72]

In October 2014, Klayman requested that the Department of Homeland Security initiate deportation proceedings against Obama.[73]

Ted Cruz[edit]

Following Ted Cruz's announcement that he will seek the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election, Klayman stated that Cruz is not eligible.[74]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wilkie, Christina (November 16, 2009). "Klayman attacks 'Whores' in new book". The Hill. 
  2. ^ Kerr, Jennifer (September 22, 2003). "Clinton nemesis to launch bid for Florida Senate seat". The Florida Times-Union (Associated Press). 
  3. ^ "A Nemesis of Clinton Now Targets DeLay". Los Angeles Times (Associated Press). April 11, 2001. 
  4. ^ Bendavid, Naftali (May 29, 2000). "Judge's Gavel Comes Down Hard On Clinton". Chicago Tribune. 
  5. ^ Abramson, Jill (April 26, 1998). "Culture of Scandal Turns Inquiry Into an Industry". New York Times. 
  6. ^ a b Jackson, Robert (April 20, 1998). "Judicial Watch Keeps Eye on Clinton". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ "The Breakfast Meeting: More Papers Cut and the Navy Seal Story Leaks Out". The New York Times. August 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ Crawford, Jamie (October 8, 2013). "Report sheds light on al Qaeda-linked hijacking plot in 2000". CNN. 
  9. ^ a b Killough, Ashley; Travis, Shannon; Rokus, Brian (October 13, 2013). "Rallier tells Obama to 'put the Quran down'". CNN. 
  10. ^ Cave, Damien (June 10, 2008). "Gadfly, Contending Price Fixing, Sues OPEC". New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Watchdog group sues Vice President Dick Cheney, Halliburton Co., alleging accounting fraud". St. Augustine Record (St. Augustine, Florida: Associated Press). July 11, 2002. 
  12. ^ McNiff, Tom (May 29, 2013). "Conservative activist's "citizen grand jury" indicts Obama". Ocala StarBanner. 
  13. ^ "Claim: A Florida grand jury has indicted Barack Obama and Joe Biden". Snopes. October 31, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Ahmadinejad and Iran to Be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity". PR Newswire. April 3, 2013. 
  15. ^ Ertelt, Steven (July 28, 2010). "Judicial Watchdog Wants Elena Kagan Disbarred Over Abortion Distortions". Life News. 
  16. ^ a b Lewis, Paul (December 17, 2013). "Larry Klayman: the Tea Party 'gadfly' who took on the NSA". The Guardian (London, UK). 
  17. ^ Protalinski, Emil (April 1, 2011). "Facebook, Zuckerberg sued for $1 billion". ZD Net. 
  18. ^ Savage, Charlie (December 16, 2013). "Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Dinan, Stephen (December 16, 2013). "Federal judge says NSA phone program violates Fourth Amendment". The Washington Times. 
  20. ^ "Ethics and the Law: Why Conservatives Must Lead". The Council for National Policy. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  21. ^ "Larry Klayman profile". NNDB. Retrieved 2014-01-24. 
  22. ^ https://doe.dos.state.fl.us/elections/resultsarchive/Index.asp?ElectionDate=8/31/2004&DATAMODE=
  23. ^ "About Freedom Watch". Freedomwatchusa.org. Retrieved 2011-03-05. 
  24. ^ Larry Klayman aka Harry Klaypool of Freedom Watch
  25. ^ Klayman, Larry (January 29, 2012). "The Land of Israel Is Ours". WND.com. 
  26. ^ Klayman, Larry (May 27, 2013). "The ethical decline of liberal Jewish intelligentsia, Part 2". RenewAmerica. 
  27. ^ Segal, David (May 30, 1998). "Pursuing Clinton Suits Him Just Fine". Washington Post. 
  28. ^ a b Montgomery, David (May 9, 2014). "Can Larry Klayman make history with his NSA lawsuit?". Washington Post Magazine (Washington Post). 
  29. ^ a b Weisberg, Jacob (June 6, 1998). "Nut Watch: First Larry Klayman sued Hillary Clinton. Now he's suing his mom". Slate. 
  30. ^ Reed, Travis (May 9, 2008). "Federal marriage-for-citizenship sting nets 83 Fla. arrests". USA Today (Associated Press). 
  31. ^ Garcia-Roberts, Gus (November 1, 2011). "Riptide: Larry Klayman, Conservative Wingnut Lawyer, Gets Reprimanded By Florida Bar, Is Broke". Miami New Times. 
  32. ^ THE FLORIDA BAR v. LARRY ELLIOT KLAYMAN (Fla. August 11, 2011). Text
  33. ^ Tillman, Zoe (June 24, 2014). "D.C. Attorney Larry Klayman Agrees to Censure in Ethics Case". National Law Journal. 
  34. ^ Jackson, Robert (April 20, 1998). "Judicial Watch Keeps Eye on Clinton". Los Angeles Times. 
  35. ^ "The Willey-Clinton Letters". CNN. March 17, 1998. 
  36. ^ Jackson, Robert L. (March 30, 2000). "Clinton Violated Accuser's Rights in Releasing Letters, Judge Rules". Los Angeles Times. 
  37. ^ Stout, David (March 30, 2000). "Federal Judge Rules President Broke Privacy Law by Releasing Letters". New York Times. 
  38. ^ Alexander v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (D.D.C. March 29, 2000). Text
  39. ^ "Clinton's Private Act". CBS News. March 29, 2000. 
  40. ^ In Re: Executive Office of the President (D.C. Circuit May 26, 2000). Text ["Indeed, it was inappropriate for the District Court gratuitously to invoke sweeping pronouncements on alleged criminal activity that extended well beyond what was necessary to decide the matters at hand."]
  41. ^ Kerr, Jennifer (October 10, 2003). "Conservative firebrand Klayman seeks Senate seat". Associated Press. 
  42. ^ "Flashback: Bill Clinton attacks Larry Klayman in White House press conference". C-SPAN. September 30, 1999. 
  43. ^ Hattem, Julian (April 2, 2015). "Court skeptical of seizing Clinton's server". The Hill. 
  44. ^ Byrnes, Jesse (March 25, 2015). "Clinton hit with racketeering lawsuit over emails". The Hill. 
  45. ^ Nolin, Robert (February 27, 2003). "Case Against Castro Plays Out In Court". Sun Sentinel. 
  46. ^ Roig-Franzia, Manuel (May 24, 2005). "Exile to Reveal Plan For Post-Castro Cuba". Washington Post. 
  47. ^ "Cuban Plane Survivor Wins Castro Judgment". The Edwardsville Intelligencer. January 23, 2003. 
  48. ^ Abbott, Ryan (April 23, 2014). "Defamation Case Is a Dud for Larry Klayman". Courthouse News Service. 
  49. ^ Doyle, Michael (April 18, 2014). "Judge SLAPPs down defamation suit filed by Larry Klayman and 9/11 ally". Sacramento Bee. 
  50. ^ "Facebook sued for $1billion over 'Intifada' page calling for violence against Jews". Daily Mail. 2011-04-03. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  51. ^ Klayman v. Zuckerberg, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 182598 (D.D.C. Dec. 28, 2012), http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/district-of-columbia/dcdce/1:2011cv00874/148053/42/.
  52. ^ Kuo, Lily (June 4, 2012). ""Birther" lawsuit against Esquire Magazine dismissed". Reuters. 
  53. ^ Frankel, Alison (November 26, 2013). "D.C. Circuit knows satire when it sees it, tosses ‘birther’ case vs Esquire". Reuters. 
  54. ^ Joseph Farah, et al v. Esquire Magazine, et al (D.D.C. January 25, 2013). Text
  55. ^ Weber, Katherine (November 15, 2012). "Christian Rock Musician Seeks Appeal in Rachel Maddow Defamation Case". The Christian Post. 
  56. ^ Fung, Katherine (July 10, 2012). "Bradlee Dean Fires Back At Judge In Rachel Maddow, MSNBC Suit". Huffington Post. 
  57. ^ "Biden and Panetta sued by Navy Seal Team VI and special ops families". Freedom Watch. June 27, 2013. 
  58. ^ Marimow, Ann E. (December 16, 2013). "Judge: NSA's collecting of phone records is likely unconstitutional". Washington Post. 
  59. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (October 14, 2014). "Larry Klayman is suing the federal government because of Ebola. Yes, really.". Washington Post. 
  60. ^ "Joe Arpaio goes to court over Obama immigration moves". CBS News. November 21, 2014. 
  61. ^ Walsh, Eric (December 23, 2014). "U.S. Judge Throws Out Arizona Sheriff's Immigration Suit Against Obama". Huffington Post. 
  62. ^ Burke, Cathy (January 14, 2015). "Arpaio Lawsuit Against Obama Amnesty Wins Accelerated Hearing". Newsmax. 
  63. ^ Theobald, Bill (January 7, 2015). "Arpaio seeks faster appeal of migrant executive action". Arizona Republic. 
  64. ^ Strachan, Deshayla (April 9, 2015). "News Outlets Off Hook for Defamation Claims". Courthouse News Service. 
  65. ^ Montgomery, David (June 10, 2014). "Larry Klayman wins one against Judicial Watch". Washington Post. 
  66. ^ Lazar, Alex (December 19, 2013). "Meet Larry Klayman: Man Behind the NSA Lawsuit". ABC News. 
  67. ^ "Judge dismisses suit to keep Obama off Fla. ballot". Tampa Bay Online. July 2, 2012. 
  68. ^ Lawson, Brian (March 21, 2014). "Alabama Supreme Court upholds decision to toss 'birther' lawsuit, Chief Justice Roy Moore dissents". The Birmingham News. 
  69. ^ Bump, Philip (December 18, 2013). "Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They Aren't After You". The Atlantic. 
  70. ^ McNiff, Tom (May 29, 2013). "Conservative activist's 'citizen grand jury' indicts Obama". Ocala Star-Banner. 
  71. ^ Rhodan, Maya (November 19, 2013). "Swampland: Tea Party Protestors Demand Obama Impeachment Outside White House". Time. 
  72. ^ a b Noble, Andrea (November 19, 2013). "Activist groups want Obama to resign: Unite for their cause in Lafayette Square". The Washington Times. 
  73. ^ Nelson, Steven (October 3, 2014). "Lawyer Who Beat the NSA Files Obama 'Deportation Petition'". U.S. News & World Report. 
  74. ^ Nelson, Steven (March 24, 2015). "Ted Cruz Inherits 'Birthers' With Presidential Bid". U.S. News & World Report. 

External links[edit]