Roger Stone, a former Trump campaign ally, responded to the Democratic National Committee’s Russia collusion lawsuit Monday, telling it to preserve its databases, records and servers for inspection.
“[We] intend to test the basic underlying claims that ‘Russians’ hacked, stole, and disseminated DNC data, rather than the various other plausible scenarios, including internal theft,” wrote Robert Buschel, an attorney representing Mr. Stone, in a letter to the DNC’s lawyers.
Mr. Stone is one of the more than a dozen defendants listed in the suit filed Friday, which says Russian intelligence officials, WikiLeaks and allies of Donald J. Trump worked together to hack the DNC’s emails to elevate Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
The lawsuit alleges the Trump campaign knew about the hacking and welcomed it instead of reporting the cyber breach to authorities.
“The DNC lawsuit opens the door of discovery. My lawyers and I want to examine the DNC servers to settle this bogus claim of Russian hacking once and for all,” Mr. Stone said.
The DNC had refused to allow the FBI to inspect its hacked servers and instead opted for a private company to do the review, former FBI Director James B. Comey told Congress last year.
In its lawsuit, the DNC said it spent millions to remedy the hack, hiring CrowdStrike Services, Inc., a cybersecurity firm, to review the damage.
As a result, the DNC had to “decommission more than 140 servers, remove and reinstall all software, including the operating systems, for more than 180 computers, and rebuild at least 11 servers,” according to the legal complaint.
The DNC said CrowdStrike and the U.S. Government determined the servers were hacked by two separate state sponsored Russian adversaries.
Mr. Buschel told The Washington Times the DNC had an obligation not to destroy the evidence if it was planning to file a lawsuit.
“We sent the preservation and hold letter because we want to know if the DNC ‘cremated the body’ before we could examine and test the [toxicity] of the DNC’s questionable claims. Based on the reports and the lawsuit, the DNC is expecting, without verification, for a jury and America to accept its narrative,” said Mr. Buschel.
The DNC and its attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Mark Zaid, an attorney based in Washington, D.C., said preservation requests are normal and they seek to preserve what currently exists.
“I would imagine if the suit proceeds into discovery questions could be asked to ascertain what was remodeled or changed but unlikely that anything already destroyed can be recreated,” Mr. Zaid said.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has called the legal challenge a “sham.”
Tom Perez, chairman of the DNC, appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday to defend the lawsuit.
“Over the course of the last year, we have seen a mountain of evidence of collusion between the campaign and the Russians to basically effect our democracy and so we did our homework and we brought our civil case,” he said.
Mr. Trump responded to the litigation over the weekend on Twitter, suggesting it could help the GOP.
“So funny, the Democrats have sued the Republicans for Winning. Now he R’s counter and force them to turn over a treasure trove of material, including Servers and Emails!” Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday.