On April 20, 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, against the Russian Federation, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU), a GRU operative using a pseudonym "Guccifer 2.0,"  Aras and Emin Agalarov, Joseph Mifsud, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, and Richard Gates for their participation in a conspiracy to deliberately undermine the 2016 U.S. elections, by, among other things, hacking DNC servers and disseminating stolen documents.

Case Background

The complaint alleges that in the run up to the 2016 election, Russia mounted a “brazen attack on American Democracy,” starting with a cyberattack on the DNC, carried out on American soil, including DNC computers and phone systems, exfiltrating tens of thousands of documents and emails. Russia then used this stolen information to advance its own interests: destabilizing the U.S. Political environment, denigrating the Democratic presidential nominee, and supporting the campaign of Donald J. Trump (Trump), whose policies would benefit the Kremlin.

In 2016, the complaint alleges, individuals tied to the Kremlin notified the Trump campaign that Russia intended to interfere with U.S. democracy. Through multiple meetings, emails, and other communications, these Russian agents made clear that their government supported Trump and was prepared to use stolen emails and other information to damage Trump’s opponent and the Democratic party.

Rather than report that Russia intended to interfere with U.S. elections, the Trump Campaign and its agents welcomed Russia’s help.  Specifically, the complaint alleges, the Trump Campaign solicited Russia’s illegal assistance, and maintained secret communications with individuals tied to the Russian government, including one of the intelligence agencies responsible for attacking the DNC.

Through these communications, the Trump Campaign, Trump’s closest advisors, and Russian agents formed an agreement to promote Donald Trump’s candidacy through illegal means. Russian agents trespassed onto the DNC’s computer network in the United States, as well as other email accounts, collected trade secrets and other private data, and then transmitted the data to Defendant WikiLeaks, whose founder, Assange, shared the defendants’ common goal of damaging the Democratic party in advance of the election.  Russia, through military intelligence (GRU) officer(s) posing as “Guccifer 2.0,” and through WikiLeaks, then disseminated the information at times when it would best suit the Trump Campaign.

As stolen DNC information was strategically released to the public, then candidate Trump openly praised the illegal disseminations and encouraged Russia to continue its violations of U.S. law through its ongoing hacking campaign against the Democratic party.

Causes of action against Defendants include violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, RICO and RICO Conspiracy, Wiretap Act, Sored Communications Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, Washington D.C. Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Trespass, Trespass to Chattels, Conspiracy to Commit Trespass to Chattels, Violation of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act.

The case is styled: Democratic National Committee v. The Russian Federation, et al., Case No. 1:18-cv-03501, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

All Media Inquiries: Adrienne E. Watson at the Democratic National Committee: 317-430-4611 or watsona@dnc.org.