WASHINGTON (AP) — A top fundraiser for President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Qatar and lobbyists working for Qatar, alleging they hacked his and his wife’s emails as part of an ongoing battle between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Elliott Broidy and Robin Rosenzweig, his wife, allege that hackers from Qatar broke into their email accounts at the start of this year and Qatar’s lobbying team in Washington then pushed the emails to journalists around the city in an effort to discredit Broidy.
The Qatar Embassy said in a statement the lawsuit is “without merit or fact” and is “a transparent attempt to divert attention from U.S. media reports about his activities.”
The lawsuit is the latest volley in an ongoing battle involving the UAE, Qatar and a host of Washington power players. Agents working with special counsel Robert Mueller detained Broidy’s business associate, George Nader, at Dulles International Airport in January. Nader agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
The Associated Press reported Monday that Nader had wired $2.5 million through Canada for an influence campaign Broidy was coordinating in Washington that accused Qatar of being a state sponsor of terrorism.
“We believe the evidence is clear that a nation state is waging a sophisticated disinformation campaign against me in order to silence me, including hacking emails, forging documents, and engaging in espionage and numerous other illegal activities,” Broidy said in a statement Monday. “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.”
The statement from the Qatar Embassy, issued by media attache Jassim Al-Thani, said: “It is Mr. Broidy, not Qatar, who orchestrated nefarious activities designed to influence Congress and American foreign policy. It does not matter how many venues Mr. Broidy publishes his false accusations in, they will not become truth.”
Shortly after reporters began asking questions about the hacked emails, Broidy hired a team of cybersecurity specialists to investigate the hack.
In the lawsuit, Broidy accuses a Republican lobbyist for Qatar, Nick Muzin, of spreading the hacked emails among journalists.
“Mr. Broidy’s lawsuit is an obvious attempt to draw attention away from his controversial work, and is as flimsy as the promises he reportedly made to his clients,” Muzin said in a statement. “I am proud of the work my firm has conducted with Qatar and look forward to continuing to support peaceful dialogue and progress in the Middle East.”