Former Trump White House lawyer Stefan Passantino has filed a defamation lawsuit against prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, alleging that Weissmann made false claims about Passantino coaching a witness to lie under oath. The lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $75,000, was filed in a federal court in DC.
The witness in question, Cassidy Hutchinson, had testified falsely claiming that on January 6, former President Trump had lunged at a Secret Service agent. Hutchinson alleged that Trump became angry after being told he would be driven back to the West Wing and shouted, “I’m the f*cking president! Take me up to the Capitol now!” She further claimed that Trump reached up to the driver, grabbed the steering wheel, and attempted to commandeer the presidential limo.
During her testimony before the January 6 Committee, Hutchinson stated that Passantino, her lawyer, had advised her to “remember less” when questioned. However, she clarified that Passantino did not instruct her to lie, but rather told her not to lie.
On September 15, 2023, Weissmann tweeted that Hutchinson’s “good lawyer” had coached her to lie, without mentioning Passantino by name. In response, Passantino filed the defamation lawsuit, stating that Weissmann knew the claim was false or made it with reckless disregard for the truth, as Hutchinson’s testimony and transcripts showed that Passantino had not obstructed or shaped her testimony.
The lawsuit further alleges that Weissmann targeted Passantino out of partisan animus and to divert attention from the contradictions and lack of credibility in Hutchinson’s testimony, which undermined the credibility of the Select Committee and its partisan findings. Passantino claims that Weissmann’s false statement has severely damaged his reputation, resulting in significant financial losses.
Passantino’s lawsuit seeks to hold Weissmann accountable for the “vicious lie” and the damages it has caused to Passantino’s 30-year reputation. The lawsuit accuses Weissmann of making false statements with the intention of smearing Passantino based on his prior affiliation with President Trump.
By bringing this lawsuit, Passantino aims to bring attention to the harm caused by false statements and hold individuals accountable for spreading misinformation. The outcome of this legal battle will likely have implications for the reputation of both Passantino and Weissmann, as well as provide clarity on the importance of truthfulness in legal proceedings.