President Donald Trump has declared that WikiLeaks is a completely legal operation, inherently protected by the First Amendment.
Attorney’s for Trump’s 2016 campaign claim that WikiLeaks is shielded from liability, since the leaked documents they publish concern “newsworthy and public issues.”
Inquisitr.com reports: This is in relation to the lawsuit filed against the Trump campaign and on behalf of two democratic donors and a former DNC staffer, who claim to be personally affected by the leak. As it is known to the public, the Federal authorities are currently investigating the possibility of a “Russia collusion,” as the media often puts it. According to the lawsuit, the leak also exposes personal data, apart from the information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
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It’s important to note that, according to the Trump campaign, this is a case about the publication of the emails, rather than about their acquisition. Furthermore, the President’s legal team argues that WikiLeaks is merely a platform on which third parties get to publish content.
The Russians have denied their involvement in the United States presidential election of 2016 numerous times. The U.S. Department of Justice began investigating the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, as well as his platform back in 2010. Today, members of Trump’s administration, such as the CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have openly criticized Assange’s organization, even stating that it should be shut down.
Is Wikileaks protected by the Communications Decency Act–47 U.S.C. § 230? Trump's lawyers argue it is https://t.co/jk7mQXZxP4
— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) October 26, 2017
Trump’s lawyers claim that WikiLeaks is protected by the Communications Decency Act. To be more precise, the organization qualifies for immunity of the act’s section 230, the President’s lawyers claim. Obviously, the federal court will determine whether WikiLeaks qualifies or not, but here’s the main argument in Trump campaign’s motion to dismiss, as written by the President’s legal team.
Under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (47 U.S.C. § 230), a website that provides a forum where “third parties can post information” is not liable for the third party’s posted information. Klayman v. Zuckerberg, 753 F.3d 1354, 1358 (D.C. Cir. 2014). That is so even when even when the website performs “editorial functions” “such as deciding whether to publish.” Id. at 1359. Since WikiLeaks provided a forum for a third party (the unnamed “Russian actors”) to publish content developed by that third party (the hacked emails), it cannot be held liable for the publication.
Julian Assange has already tweeted about this and let the public know what he thinks, but what’s perhaps even more interesting is the fact that mister Donald Trump himself quite openly praised the website for publishing the leaked DNC e-mails, although some members of his administration disagree. The DNC scandal is in its final stages. The lawsuit was filled in July this year, so it remains to be seen how this entire saga will end.