A federal judge today ruled against Jerome Corsi’s request that the judge preside over the trial in his lawsuit against Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Corsi, the former Infowars conspiracy theorist who is suing the special counsel over alleged illegal surveillance and leaks from Mueller’s office, asked U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon to preside over the case after Leon had previously heard a number of cases regarding illegal surveillance.
Justice Department lawyer Elizabeth Tulis argued that the law that would allow such a move only applied in cases with identical litigants.
Leon, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, replied that a provision that would allow Leon to take up the case did not apply since Corsi’s lawsuit was not related to the cases that Leon had previously heard, according to The Hill, and that for Leon to take the case would “undermine” the process by which cases are randomly assigned to judges within the District Court. Leon made the decision quickly, without even taking time to deliberate.
“A related case is not whatever a plaintiff wishes it to be,” Leon said. To accept Klayman’s argument “would invite precisely the sort of judge shopping that this system is designed to avoid.”
The case will instead be presided over by Senior U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huevelle, who was appointed by President Clinton.
Judge Richard Leon in DC orders Jerome Corsi's suit against Mueller transferred from his court /// 'Our random assignment process is designed to minimize ... intentional efforts by litigants to game the system and secure the judge of their choice.' https://t.co/W12PVYrrp6 pic.twitter.com/Ld2tfzVfbs— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) January 3, 2019
Corsi, an ally of President Trump’s former advisor Roger Stone, has emerged as a key player in Mueller’s investigation of collusion between President Trump and Russian interests. Corsi has publicly declared that he expects an indictment from Mueller, and refused a plea agreement after initially cooperating with the investigation.
Corsi’s attorney, former Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman, had been complimentary of Leon ahead of the hearing, describing Leon as “one of the few jurists in the nation who has the nonpartisan independence and courage to stand up to and hold legally accountable Special Counsel Mueller.”
“Because they’re having a hard time proving so-called Russian collusion, my client’s between a rock and a hard place,” Klayman said during the hearing, according to NPR.
Leon criticized Klayman in court for disparaging remarks that Klayman had previously made about Leon, when Klayman had suggested in a previous filing that Leon had been “co-opted by the so-called Deep State”.
After Leon’s decision, Klayman called it “dead wrong” while Corsi determined it “a victory.”
“We’ll find the next judge and see how fair the next judge is,” Corsi said, promising to push the lawsuit to the highest levels of the court system if needed.