A federal judge on Tuesday granted a request by a coalition of crime victims’ rights groups to file a motion in support of Carter Page’s request to weigh in on the sentencing of an ex-FBI lawyer.
In a one-page order, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg accepted the groups’ motion arguing that Mr. Page qualifies as a victim of the crime perpetrated by former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.
Clinesmith pleaded guilty this summer to falsifying an email submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to continue surveilling Mr. Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who was suspected of colluding with Russians who interfered in the 2016 election.
No criminal charges were ever filed against Mr. Page, who was ultimately exonerated of any wrongdoing by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mr. Page has asked the court to speak as a crime victim at Mr. Clinesmith’s sentencing last night. Clinesmith’s attorneys opposed the motion and the victims’ rights groups said they would like to explain why Mr. Page should be treated as a crime victim.
Paul Cassell, an attorney for the groups, hailed Judge Boasberg’s ruling.
“Too often crimes are viewed as somehow ‘victimless.’ But Congress intended to protect all persons who are directly and proximately harmed by crimes,” he told The Washington Times. “In this case, the defendant’s false statement harmed Dr. Page by subverting the proper process for determining whether a FISA warrant should be renewed.”
Clinesmith’s argued Mr. Page can’t prove he was a “victim” of the defendant’s actions.
Instead, they say that Clinesmith’s doctoring of an email may not have influenced the FISC’s approval of the fourth surveillance warrant of Mr. Page.
The attorneys say other evidence, including three previous FISA warrants, also weighed in favor of the court granting permission to wiretap Mr. Page.
“The parties, however, dispute whether that alleged harm was ‘directly and proximately’ caused by Clinesmith’s false statement,” they wrote.
Mr. Cassell said Mr. Page is a crime victim under federal law.
“The issue of who qualifies as a ‘victim’ for purposes of the Crime Victims Rights Act is an extremely important and recurring issue,” he said. “We are pleased that Judge Boasberg has accepted our brief for filing because it explains that the CVRA’s definition of ‘victim’ must be broadly construed to protect all victims.”
Among the groups seeking to support Mr. Page are the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, the Network for Victim Recovery of the District of Columbia and the Utah Crime Victims’ Legal Clinic.