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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Top Trump ally sues Qatar over hacked emails

Elliott Broidy, a fund-raiser for the president and his party, accused Doha of engaging in a smear campaign against him

US Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, centre, launched legal action earlier this year after claiming his email account was hacked by agents linked to the Qatar government. Flickr
US Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy, centre, launched legal action earlier this year after claiming his email account was hacked by agents linked to the Qatar government. Flickr

A major supporter and fund-raiser for Donald Trump is suing the state of Qatar for allegedly hacking his email, distributing content to journalists and engaging in a smear campaign against him.

Elliott Broidy, a top fund-raiser for the US president and the Republican party, filed the lawsuit on Monday at the federal court in Los Angeles, where his business is based. Mr Broidy accused the Doha government of hacking his accounts, stealing his emails and distributing them to US media and other outlets through lobbyists and PR firms that it hired.

In a statement, Mr Broidy said: “We believe the evidence is clear that a nation state is waging a sophisticated disinformation campaign against me to silence me, including hacking emails, forging documents, and engaging in espionage and numerous other illegal activities.

“We believe it is also clear that I have been targeted because of my strong political views against Qatar’s state sponsored terrorism and double dealing,” he said.

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The emails appeared in major media outlets this month and allege that Mr Broidy tried to influence the president to push his own business interests, as well as promote hawkish US policies against Doha.

Mr Broidy called the hacking act a “hostile intelligence operation” and is filing the lawsuit jointly with his wife Robin Rosenzweig. His lawyer Lee Wolosky said: “The Broidys are victims of a sophisticated effort to damage their reputations and relationships.

“We believe Qatar has engaged in cyberattacks aimed at a US citizen on American soil seemingly because of their perceived political influence and their outspoken opposition to Qatar’s support and sponsorship of terrorists,” Mr Wolosky added.

The Broidys are also suing lobbyist Nicholas Muzin and his company, Stonington Strategies, alleging it facilitated Qatar’s work and was involved in tarnishing his image.

The Qatar embassy in Washington declined to comment.