A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by relatives of two Americans killed during the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Mrs. Clinton neither enabled the Benghazi attack by using her now-infamous private email server nor defamed its victims’ parents afterwards, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Friday in Washington, D.C., casting aside claims raised on behalf of parents of slain State Department information officer Sean Smith and late CIA operative Tyrone Woods.
The Smith and Woods families sued Mrs. Clinton last August in D.C. federal court alleging she caused their sons’ deaths by discussing sensitive State Dept. matters over an insecure, nongovernmental email system while secretary of state, supposedly providing terrorists with information used to plot the Sept. 11, 2012 ambush, according to the lawsuit.
Any emails sent by Mrs Clinton were within the scope of her position as secretary of state, the Obama-appointed judge ruled Friday, giving the court sufficient reason to dismiss the wrongful death claim on technical grounds, Politico first reported.
“The Court finds that Secretary Clinton was acting in the scope of her employment when she transmitted the emails that are alleged to give rise to her liability,” Judge Jackson’s 29-page opinion reads in part. “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, 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.”
“Her actions – communicating with other State Department personnel and advisors about the official business of the department – fall squarely within the scope of her duty to run the Department and conduct the foreign affairs of the nation as Secretary of State,” Friday’s ruling said.
The lawsuit also claimed Mrs. Clinton defamed the Smith and Woods families after the Benghazi attack by allegedly misrepresenting conversations she had with either. Those claims were dismissed Friday as well.
“Secretary Clinton did not refer to plaintiffs as liars,” Judge Jackson opined. “Plaintiffs may find the candidate’s statements in her own defense to be ‘unpleasant or offensive,’ but Secretary Clinton did not portray plaintiffs as ‘odious, infamous, or ridiculous….’ To the contrary, the statements portray plaintiffs as normal parents, grieving over the tragic loss of their loved ones.”
A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately react to the ruling, and an attorney for Mrs. Clinton declined to comment, Politico reported Friday.
Four Americans in total were killed on Sept. 11, 2012, after terrorists stormed the U.S. consulate in Libya, including CIA operative Glen Doherty and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in addition to Smith and Woods.