The Justice Department’s request in a case involving lawsuits brought by former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page was denied by a federal judge.
According to NBC News last week, President Joe Biden’s DOJ was attempting to stop former President Donald Trump from testifying in court “to determine whether he met with and directly pressured FBI and Justice Department officials to fire Strzok or urged any White House aides to do so,” in two lawsuits.
In response to the Justice Department’s request for the court to reconsider an earlier decision allowing Strzok’s attorneys to proceed with a deposition of Trump in the lawsuits Strzok and Lisa Page filed against the Justice Department and FBI in 2019, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued her order.
According to NBC News, the DOJ contended that additional information, such as FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony and written declarations from other government officials acquainted with Trump’s interactions with Strzok and Page, called for reexamining the deposition involving the former president.
The Justice Department’s attorneys wrote, “The availability of that evidence to Mr. Strzok means the deposition of former President Trump is not appropriate,” which furthered their earlier defense of the apex doctrine, which states that officials are typically exempt from depositions unless they have firsthand knowledge of the matter and the information cannot be obtained through alternative means.
Previously, DOJ lawyers had argued that Wray’s testimony might make it unnecessary for Trump to take a deposition. Although many of the specifics were redacted, the agency referred to “newly available evidence” in the court filing.
Jackson decided that Trump’s depositions could proceed under her order.
“Given the limited nature of the deposition that has been ordered, and the fact that the former President’s schedule appears to be able to accommodate other civil litigation that he has initiated, the outcome of the balancing required by the apex doctrine remains the same for all of the reasons previously stated,” Jackson wrote.
The judge also noted that there didn’t seem to be much evidence to back the claim that Trump personally fired Strzok given the available testimony. The former president, she underlined, had “publicly boasted” about his involvement in the incident.
Back in February, Jackson had agreed to the Justice Department’s request to put off Trump’s deposition until after Wray’s. She reaffirmed, however, that her earlier choice to move through with Trump’s deposition was still in force.
Strzok and Page were taken off of the investigation being conducted by then-special counsel Robert Mueller when it was revealed that the president had received important text exchanges in December 2017. In one conversation, Strzok implied that he and the agency would work to prevent Trump from winning the presidency and instead support his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Additionally, it was mentioned in reports that Strzok and Page once had a love connection. They were subsequently let go from their jobs at the FBI.
Trump is currently dealing with a number of grave accusations. 34 counts have been brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith in relation to how he handled secret materials after leaving office. A 37-count indictment has also been announced in Manhattan by District Attorney Alvin Bragg in connection with a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.
Further accusations against the 2024 GOP presidential front-runner could be brought in Fulton County, Georgia. These accusations derive from claims that Trump and his crew improperly influenced the outcome of the state’s 2020 election.
District Attorney Fani Willis allegedly instructed her staff to work remotely from July 31 through August 18 and asked judges in a central Atlanta courthouse not to schedule any cases between August 7 and August 14, according to a letter acquired by The New York Times last month.
“The moves suggest that [Willis] is expecting a grand jury to unseal indictments during that time period,” the Times reported.