By Roy Strom. Media: Bloomberg Law.
- Stefan Passantino accused of encouraging Cassidy Hutchinson to lie to panel
- Law firm parted ways with former White House lawyer after testimony revealed
Former Trump White House lawyer Stefan Passantino is suing the House Jan. 6 committee, alleging its members pushed a “false narrative” that he encouraged star witness Cassidy Hutchinson to lie to the panel.
The committee leaked “an outrageous tale” about Passantino to the news media, he said in a complaint filed Tuesday.
Passantino came under fire in December after the panel released testimony from Hutchinson, a Trump White House staffer. She said Passantino advised her to mislead the committee about certain events surrounding the attack on the US Capitol.
Passantino’s lawyers denied the accusation in the new complaint, arguing that the committee leaked the testimony without verifying it. Ensuing media coverage caused Passantino “reputational, emotional, and economic” damage, according to the complaint.
Law firm Michael Best & Friedrich parted ways with Passantino shortly after the testimony became public. A group called Lawyers Defending Democracy last month filed a complaint with the Washington bar seeking the removal of Passantino’s law license over his work for Hutchinson.
Hutchinson testified publicly before the committee in June 2022. She was represented by Joseph “Jody” Hunt, a former high-ranking official in the Trump Justice Department.
Hutchinson told the House committee that Passantino advised her to claim she did not recall the details of an episode in which former President Donald Trump was said to have lashed out at members of his security detail in an SUV on the day of the Capitol attack.
Passantino at the time defended his work for Hutchinson, saying he represented her “honorably, ethically, and fully consistent with her sole interests as she communicated them to me.”
Passantino filed the claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The law gives the government six months to respond before he can file a federal lawsuit, according to a statement from his attorney, Jesse Binnall.
A spokesperson for Rep. Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.), chairman of the Jan. 6 panel, didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the complaint.
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