DoJ wins request to block Trump deposition in lawsuit from former FBI agents over critical texts
Donald Trump will not have to sit for a deposition under oath in a lawsuit from two former FBI agents, a federal court ruled on Friday.
The Justice Department had requested the step, arguing under the “apex doctrine” that lawyers for the former agents should depose FBI director Christopher Wray before seeking information from a higher-ranking official.
The lawsuit at issue is by former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who criticised Donald Trump in messages on government phones amid the 2016 election and investigations into the Trump campaign’s potential ties with Russia.
In an August 2016 exchange, Ms Page wondered if Donald Trump is “ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
“No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it,” Mr Strzok responded.
The two agents, who were subject to numerous angry public statements from Mr Trump, argued they were singled out for retaliation.
Mr Strzok sought reinstatement and back pay, while Ms Page argued the messages were improperly shared by the government with reporters.
A federal court previously said both Mr Trump and Mr Wray could be deposed, before the DoJ intervened.
“The court’s ruling was appropriate in light of all of the facts,” US District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson said of the original decision in Friday’s ruling. “However, in order to get the parties – who apparently still cannot agree on anything – over this impasse, it is hereby ORDERED that the deposition of Christopher Wray proceed first.”
The wrangling comes as Mr Trump is under intense legal scrutiny.
Earlier this week, he was found liable for the sexual abuse of writer E Jean Carroll, a verdict the former president said he plans to appeal.
Mr Trump also faces numerous other investigations and trials, including a special counsel probe and a criminal hush money case in Manhattan.