The former Democratic National Committee chairperson accused of fixing the 2016 Democratic party primary in favor of Hillary Clinton has been cleared of fraud in a federal court.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz became embroiled in a political scandal during last year’s US presidential election after the DNC email hack revealed she had been vocal in her criticisms of Clinton’s Democratic rival Bernie Sanders – conduct which Sanders supporters believe goes against the DNC’s official neutrality in primary contests.
Federal Judge William Zloch dismissed a lawsuit brought by two Miami lawyers, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, on behalf of more than 100 Sanders supporters who claim the email leak proves Wasserman Schultz “rigged” the primary process for the former US secretary of state.
Zloch wrote in his judgement: “The Court must now decide whether Plaintiffs have suffered a concrete injury particularized to them, or one certainly impending, that is traceable to the DNC and its former chair’s conduct – the keys to entering federal court. The Court holds that they have not, which means the truth of their claims cannot be tested in this Court.”
Lawyers for Jared and Elizabeth Beck have tried to link their lawsuit to the unsolved murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who was shot in the back while out in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington in July 2016.
The Seth Rich case has become a point of focus for conspiracy theorists in recent times, with many right-wing commentators claiming that Rich had been involved in leaking the DNC emails.
Among other claims, Jared Beck attempted to link the death of the man who served the lawsuit to the DNC to senior members of the Democratic Party, and also claimed that someone from Wasserman Schultz’s office threatened him over the phone using a voice-changer.
However, Zloch ruled that the Becks did not do enough to prove their case and also said that simply having a group of more than 100 aggrieved voters did not meet the legal criteria for a class-action suit.
“To the extent Plaintiffs wish to air their general grievances with the DNC or its candidate selection process, their redress is through the ballot box, the DNC’s internal workings, or their right of free speech – not through the judiciary,” the judge added.
Meanwhile, an IT specialist and former aide to Wasserman Schultz has been indicted on four felony counts, including bank fraud and engaging in unlawful monetary transactions.
Imran Awan, 37, who worked for Wasserman Schultz and dozens of other lawmakers in the US Congress, was charged with making false statements on an application to obtain home equity lines of credit on two properties they rented out.
Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, 33, allegedly sent the money to unidentified individuals in Pakistan.