Dan Scavino Wanted To Sue Jan. 6 Committee Anonymously To Avoid Twitter Meanies. Oops!
Trump comms dick Dan Scavino got a rude awakening in court on Friday when US District Chief Judge Beryl Howell dropkicked his motion to keep his name off the record in a suit to prevent Verizon from disclosing his cell phone records to the House January 6 Select Committee.
In a sloppily docketed complaint filed January 5, Scavino made the now-familiar argument flogged by every other Trumper contesting the Select Committee's subpoena for documents and testimony that the committee lacks a valid legislative purpose and is thus illegal. Never mind that the US District and Circuit Courts have called this ridiculous, and the Supreme Court blessed that finding when it refused to block Congress's demand for Trump's presidential records in the National Archives case.
But Scavs had a new, even crazier argument in his back pocket. See, the subpoena to Verizon for his cell phone metadata didn't have his name on it, just his personal cell phone number. Which means he was anonymous in the subpoena, and thus should be able to sue anonymously to block it.
No, I'm not making this up. Look at this shit from his motion:
Of note, nowhere within the copy of the Select Committee’s subpoena provided to Plaintiff is Plaintiff’s identity, or any other customer whose records are sought, disclosed. Thus, the Select Committee has provided Verizon with a list of phone numbers without otherwise identifying the individuals believed to be affiliated with those numbers. Were Plaintiff not to proceed anonymously, Plaintiff would be forced to reveal their identity to the public without the Select Committee having to show any basis for the disclosure of the same, let alone Plaintiff’s phone records.
Not for nothing, but Scavino was subpoenaed back in September, so it's not exactly a secret that he's in the committee's sights. But more to the point, there's a really strong presumption in favor of publicly disclosing the identity of adults who are party to a lawsuit. You don't get to just wave your hands airily in the direction of the federal docket and say your identity is "wholly irrelevant to the issue before the Court" because Congress is bad.
Scavino tried to bolster his patently idiotic position by claiming he fears "retaliation" because Committee Chair Bennie Thompson "publicly criticized a subpoenaed witness’s exercise of constitutional rights" and members of the committee have "publicly threatened criminal referrals for 'recalcitrant' witnesses."
To be clear, the Select Committee didn't just pull Scavino's phone number out of a hat — it's not like suing them will tip them off to his identity.
Scavino also spends a few minutes whining that putting his name on this doomed POS suit will cause him to be "criticized relentlessly." As evidence for this claim he points to a CNN article which describes January 6 litigants as "rush[ing] to the court" and a tweet with one like from an account with 3,670 followers calling him a "Traitorous coward."
Let us pause to note that the guy from the LOCK HER UP FUCK YOUR FEELINGS SNOWFLAKE party needs to wear a mask in court because someone might call him a name or accuse him of moving fast. And while we're on this little break, let's note that your Wonkette has been calling Trump's former golf caddy a traitorous coward for years, and plans to keep doing so until he goes TF away.
Scavino's reception at the court was more civil than ours, but no warmer.
"Plaintiff has articulated no privacy interest sufficient to rebut the presumption in favor of open proceedings," wrote Judge Howell, characterizing Scavino's arguments as "misguided," which is nicer than "offensively stupid," but not much.
"Merely because the Select Committee allegedly did not disclose plaintiff’s identity in seeking the subpoena is irrelevant to the question of whether plaintiff may proceed with this suit in federal court without doing so," she said. "Furthermore, the 'relevance' of a plaintiff’s identity to the underlying claims carries little weight in determining whether his/her privacy interests outweigh the public’s presumptive interest in knowing the details of the litigation."
The court was no more impressed with Scavino's whining about people saying mean words about him on Twitter.
"The risk of harassment and criticism plaintiff describes represents the quintessential 'annoyance and criticism' that may attend any litigation and is far less severe than the degree of serious mental harm or physical danger necessary to override the strong public interest in transparent legal proceedings," she noted. [Cit. omitted.]
And so Scavino had to put his name on this doomed piece of crap like Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, John Eastman, Mike Flynn, Alex Jones, and Mike Lindell, all of whom managed to sue the committee without wandering into the courthouse in Groucho glasses. But hey, at least we now know who the biggest snowflake in Trumpland is.
[Scavino v. Verizon, Docket via Court Listener]
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.