Washington, DC – Today, Judge John Bates issued a cost sharing opinion in NIAC’s defamation lawsuit against Seyyed Hassan Daieoleslam. Although Daieoleslam failed to demonstrate that his accusations against NIAC were true, Judge Bates ordered that NIAC bear some of the discovery costs. NIAC has already filed an appeal of this order.
NIAC brought the lawsuit against Daieoleslam in response to his false accusations that the organization was a lobbyist for the Iranian Government. Once in front of the court, Daieoleslam had the opportunity to make his case for the truth. Instead, he changed his tune and did not seek to argue that his accusations were correct and truthful. He essentially abandoned the truth and instead argued that NIAC could not prove that he knew what he was saying was false, i.e. malicious. While we believe the evidence clearly showed that Daieoleslam knew he was lying, based on his systematic disregard for truth, neglect of readily available information that contradicted his conspiracy theories, declaration that he aimed to “destroy NIAC” in order to “bring down Obama,” as well as his support for the Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorist organization, the Judge felt this didn’t meet his standard and denied us the opportunity to take Daieoleslam in front of a jury.
Judge Bates provided Defendant with unfettered access to all of NIAC’s computer systems, and yet Defendant was unable to produce a single shred of evidence to substantiate his false allegations. Daieoleslam retreated from his outrageous claims when challenged to back them up in court and instead hired a million-dollar defense team backed by pro-war neo-cons and engaged in creating false and nonexistent discovery issues to facilitate exorbitant costs for NIAC. Ultimately Defendant filed a motion for cost sharing, seeking to shift Defendants wasted efforts in discovery to NIAC. Judge Bates found no evidence that NIAC intentionally destroyed electronic documents or manipulated electronic documents improperly despite Defendant’s misrepresentations to the Court of the contrary.
How did Daieoleslam–a self-described independent journalist–put together a million-dollar legal defense team?
It has been revealed that the Middle East Forum–a neoconservative group at the center of the push for broad sanctions and war–financed Daieoleslam’s legal efforts as part of a campaign to prevent anti-war Iranian-Americans from having a voice in Washington DC.
That group’s reactionary founder, Daniel Pipes, is one of the most outspoken advocates for war with Iran and an aggressive critic of efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear challenge peacefully. Pipes has called for the U.S. to “empower Iranians” by working with the Mujahedin-e Khalq. In 2009 he famously said Iranians should vote for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and reject the Green Movement to make war more likely. Pipes’ most recent work, in addition to his legal campaign on behalf of Daieoleslam against NIAC, has focused on trying to prove that President Obama is a “closet Muslim.”
The legal team financed by Pipes’ organization attempted to bury NIAC in a long and cumbersome discovery process. As part of that process, they leaked NIAC emails and documents to neoconservative reporters ideologically opposed to NIAC’s anti-war agenda. Yet, even after combing through all of NIAC’s emails and documents in the discovery process, they could not produce a single shred of evidence to support any of Daieoleslam’s false accusations.
The fact that a multimillion-dollar legal team could not find a single piece of evidence that NIAC has lobbied for the Iranian government is a public vindication against this outrageous accusation. This should discredit once and for all the politically motivated attacks against NIAC and expose the true aim behind these smears: to silence Iranian Americans who oppose war and crippling sanctions.
However, NIAC strongly disagrees with the decision to share the costs of this process. NIAC should not bear any responsibility for Daieoleslam’s failure to produce any evidence to back up his egregious claims as well as his grotesquely disproportionate and wasteful discovery tactics. As such, NIAC anticipates that a D.C. Circuit panel will recognize that Judge Bates’s cost-shifting orders contained multiple errors and therefore should be reversed or vacated.