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July 31, 2021
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Utah professor says former Trump campaign aide should be deemed a victim in case against ex-FBI lawyer

SALT LAKE CITY — A University of Utah law professor maintains that Carter Page should be recognized as a crime victim at the sentencing of an ex-FBI lawyer convicted of falsifying an email used to support an application to spy on the former Trump campaign aide.

Paul Cassell filed a friend-of-the-court brief this week on behalf of the National Crime Victim Law Institute and other crime victims’ rights organizations in the criminal case against Kevin Clinesmith.

Clinesmith pleaded guilty to altering an email in the Russia investigation and is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7. If U.S. District Judge James Boasberg recognizes Page as a victim, he would be entitled to make a victim impact statement at the hearing.

Cassell said it is an important issue for crime victims around the country.

“In recent years, Congress and many states have enacted protections for crime victims in the criminal justice process. As a result, determining who is a ‘victim’ is the vital first step in many cases for determining who will have a right to participate in the process,” he said.

The case against Clinesmith is the first to be brought by federal prosecutor John Durham, appointed last year by then-Attorney General William Barr to investigate the origins of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Clinesmith admitted to making a false statement in an email in 2017 used to justify an application to wiretap Page. Clinesmith altered an email that indicated Page was “not a source” for the CIA when the original email indicated otherwise.

Prosecutors say Clinesmith should serve time in prison, while his attorneys are arguing for probation.

Boasberg allowed Cassell to file the brief, overruling Clinesmith’s lawyers’ objections that the brief duplicated arguments Page made in a previous motion for victim status.

Cassell’s motion contends that because Page was “directly and proximately” harmed by Clinesmith’s false statement, he is a victim under the Crime Victims Rights Act.

“Put more plainly, when a government official makes a false statement in connection with an application to a federal court to obtain a warrant authorizing a search of a specifically identified person, that crime is not a ‘victimless crime,'” Cassell wrote.

Page could be entitled to restitution, likely limited to out-of-pocket costs for some attorneys fees and other expenses that he had to incur to deal with the surveillance, Cassell said.

Paged filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Department of Justice last month, claiming the FBI targeted him for his work on the Trump campaign.

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