The WikiLeaks release of hacked emails appears to show that the huge Perkins Coie law firm, while representing both the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, provided strategic advice to hurt Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
A federal class action titled Widling v. DNC was filed on June 28 in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Florida, before the latest WikiLeaks. The plaintiffs claim the DNC “actively concealed its bias” from its donors and supporters backing Bernie Sanders. They also claim that the recent hacked emails provide more evidence that the Democratic National Committee was coordinating with Hillary Clinton from the start of the presidential nomination process.
The plaintiff’s asserted causes of action against the Democratic National Committee, and former Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz include 1) Fraud; 2) Negligent Misrepresentation; 3) Unlawful trade practices; 4) Unjust Enrichment; 5) Breach of Fiduciary Duty; and 6) Negligence.
The class action suitnot only demands reimbursement to of the $228,556,686 Bernie Sanders and his supporters raised, but also demands disgorgement of all DNC contributions and reimbursement of the $128,327,060 in DNC contributions.
The WikiLeaks July 22 release of 19,252 DNC emails and July 27 release of 29 audio recordings reveal that the Perkins Coie law firm, which was defending the DNC and Wasserman Schultz, also was giving legal advice to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
When the Bernie Sanders campaign was accusing Hillary Clinton of “laundering” money through her Clinton Victory Fund, Perkins Coie Partner Marc Elias, who also served as the Clinton campaign’s general counsel, emailed to DNC staff and advised:
My suggestion is that the DNC put out a statement saying that the accusations the Sanders campaign are not true. The fact that CNN notes that you aren’t getting between the two campaigns is the problem. Here, Sanders is attacking the DNC and its current practice, its past practice with the POTUS and with Sec Kerry. Just as the RNC pushes back directly on Trump over “rigged system”, the DNC should push back DIRECTLY at Sanders and say that what he is saying is false and harmful the Democratic party. [emphasis added]
According to class action attorney Jared Beck of Beck & Lee, in a video posted online: “What we have here is evidence from the WikiLeaks database that the same attorneys that are appearing in our case and representing the DNC in the Southern District of Florida were previously attorneys for the Clinton campaign or they were providing advice to the DNC that was adverse to Bernie Sanders.”
That may not be an illegal action by Perkins Coie, but it could make the law firm a “fact witness” in the lawsuit. It may also have a conflict and could be deposed or disciplined.
Attorneys for Bernie Sanders supporters contend that federal court rules bar Perkins Coie lawyers from representing the DNC as defense counsel in this case. Beck and Lee state that Perkins Coie attorneys may become “potential material witnesses” or “defendants” in the case and should be disqualified. Jared Beck intends to file such a motion for disqualification in the Court as soon as possible.
Perkins Coie LLC is a very prestigious firm, with over 1,000 attorneys and 19 offices in the U.S. and Asia. The firm is rated 1) the 17th largest U.S. law firm by attorney headcount; 2) the number 42 highest-grossing U.S. law firm by The American Lawyer; 3) one of the Best Law Firms for Women; 4) and one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” for 14 consecutive years by FORTUNE magazine. It also received a top rating of 100 percent in the Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, 2009 – 2016.