Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has something to celebrate this weekend.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against her by the parents of two Americans who were killed during the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia tossed out on Friday the plaintiffs’ wrongful death and negligence claims against the former secretary of state, and ruled that Clinton did not defame or hold the plaintiffs in a false light when she contradicted their accounts that she had lied to them in 2012.
The suit, which was filed in August 2016, alleged that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the death of Sean Smith and Tyrone Woods because her use of a private email server allowed terrorists access to sensitive information. It also claimed that Clinton lied to the parents of the victims when she alleged that a YouTube video, not her email server, prompted the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs accused Clinton of lying about Benghazi to protect the re-election bid of former President Barack Obama and her own political ambitions.
“Immediately after the attack, Defendant Clinton, in an effort to save the re-election chances of President Barack Obama, and in turn, her own chances at the 2016 presidency, lied to Plaintiffs and the public at large that the Benghazi attacks were caused by Islamic reaction over an anti-Muslim YouTube video that had been posted on the internet.”
According to the lawsuit, Hillary Clinton was well aware that the video did not cause the attack — and that she had shared this information with the Prime Minister of Egypt and with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.
The suit was filed by Patricia Smith, the mother of Sean Smith, a State Department information management officer who worked at the Benghazi compound, and Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, a CIA operative. Woods’ heroism and death during the Benghazi attack were recreated in the 2016 film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
During the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, two other Americans were killed: Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and CIA operative Glen Doherty.
Smith, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Clinton, gave an emotional speech during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016. There, she criticized Hillary Clinton for failing to save the lives of the four American victims of the Benghazi attack.
In her 29-page opinion, Jackson acknowledged that the plaintiffs suffered a terrible loss.
“The untimely death of plaintiffs’ sons is tragic, and the Court does not mean to minimize the unspeakable loss that plaintiffs have suffered in any way.”
“But when one applies the appropriate legal standards,” she wrote, “it is clear that plaintiffs have not alleged sufficient facts to rebut the presumption that Secretary Clinton was acting in her official capacity when she used her private email server to communicate with State Department personnel about State Department business.”
Jackson also ruled against the defamation claims against Hillary Clinton. According to the federal judge, the former presidential candidate’s statement that Smith was “absolutely wrong” about her involvement in the Benghazi attack was not an accusation that the plaintiff was lying. Neither was it meant to impugn Smith’s character in any way.
In the ruling, the court emphasized that its dismissal of the case should not be taken as an opinion on the appropriateness of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server or on her public statements about the Benghazi attack.
According to Jackson, it does not matter whether or not Clinton used a private email server legally or otherwise. The question is whether or not her electronic communications with State Department officers regarding official business matters “were within the scope of her employment as the head of the State Department.”
Speaking with Politico, Larry Klayman, the attorney for Smith and Woods, has since called the court’s decision “simply dishonest and an outrage” and has vowed to appeal the case.
“Judge Jackson, who is an Obama appointee and a Democrat, was clearly protecting Mrs. Clinton and this intellectually dishonest decision will be appealed.”
“My clients are confident of success,” he said.
[Featured Image by Monica Schipper/Getty Images]