In 2002, Salon published an article detailing how Bob Barr filed a $30 million lawsuit against Bill Clinton, Larry Flynt, and James Carville, claiming “emotional distress”, on the same day he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for pain and suffering (for everybody else, naturally) at $250,000.
As I’m sure you’ve already figured out, he didn’t win; the lawsuit was dismissed on the basis that he failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted; he appealed the dismissal, and lost again. The dismissal on appeal was even more embarrassing, since the court determined that he never even claimed the disparaging information to be false, or stated with reckless disregard for the truth, or with knowing disregard for its falsity.
Think about this for a minute. He was suing a man he had impeached and two alleged (but extremely unlikely) conspirators, unsuccessfully mind you, for causing him emotional distress; yet he still never once claimed that the dirt they dug up on him (and which Flynt eventually published) was even false.
I don’t know about you, but I find even the idea of that lawsuit incredibly amusing. Can you say “frivolous”? Or maybe the word I’m looking for is “paranoid”. Either way, the word “disturbing” also comes to mind, given that an appellate court ruled that he had sued three people for $30 million, when all they had really done was exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.
By the way ….. it’s only 17 days until the convention, and Bob Barr still has not announced his intentions, and still is hiding behind his Exploratory Committee rather than subjecting himself to voter questions and scrutiny like the other candidates have already done. Gee, I wonder why. LOL
Here’s an excerpt from the Salon article:
Jun 14, 2002 | When the news finally broke — because porn magnate Larry Flynt sent out his own press release — that Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., had filed a lawsuit in March against Bill Clinton, pundit James Carville and Flynt for $30 million, claiming “loss of reputation and emotional distress,” the timing couldn’t have been much more awkward for Barr. That very day, he was championing a bill that would cap damage awards for “pain and suffering” at $250,000.
This week, at a hearing of the House Judiciary Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee, which he chairs, Barr heaped praise on a bill that would limit so-called non-economic medical damages to $250,000, saying “a national liability insurance crisis is ravaging the nation’s healthcare system.”
So how can someone who wants to limit awards for pain and suffering sue the former president and others for a whopping $30 million in emotional distress?
The depths of the former House impeachment manager’s disdain for the former president should not be underestimated. Of all the House managers, Barr was perhaps the most gung-ho in his desire to get Clinton. Back in November 1997, before the world had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky, Barr tried to bring impeachment charges against Clinton, alleging violations of campaign finance laws.
Now, Barr has quietly filed a suit against Clinton, Carville and Flynt for “participating in a common scheme and unlawful on-going conspiracy to attempt to intimidate, impede and/or retaliate against [Barr]” for his role as an impeachment manager in 1999.
Behold: Bob Barr’s vast left-wing conspiracy.
The suit comes, however, as Barr has other things to worry about. Redistricting has placed him in a tough primary fight against Rep. John Linder, R-Ga. When asked on Thursday about Barr’s suit, Linder spokesman Bo Harmon offered a jab veiled in a no-comment. “A sitting congressman suing a former president for $30 million raises all sorts of serious questions,” Harmon said. “Until we know more about Congressman Barr’s state of mind on this, we’re going to refrain from commenting.”
Barr’s case is yet another bizarre coda to the impeachment saga. Among the documents submitted in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, was a section of The Flynt Report, the 1999 document by the Hustler publisher that shone a spotlight on the private lives of the House impeachment managers and other moralizing Republicans. The report calls Barr “a twice-divorced family values cheerleader … who condoned an abortion, committed adultery and failed to tell the truth under oath” in a 1986 deposition.
Flynt’s report was one of the blows struck in a tit-for-tat mud-wrestling match between investigators in the Office of the Independent Counsel and their congressional allies and Democratic attack dogs during the halcyon days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Democrats pointed to stories like the ones contained in the report and to Henry Hyde’s extramarital affair to label Republican impeachment managers as hypocrites.
Barr has long talked of a conspiracy behind the attacks on him. At the time the Flynt Report was published, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Barr if the White House was behind the smear campaign. “Most people can’t even deny that with a straight face,” Barr told Blitzer.
The suit is not the first time Barr has tried to sue Clinton outside the confines of Congress. The new civil suit is a reprise of a criminal case Barr brought in 1999 against the Executive Office of the President and the Justice Department, claiming the White House was keeping a dossier on Barr and that the congressman “was subject to attacks and threats of attack by persons in the media, including Larry Flynt, James Carville, [investigative journalist] Dan Moldea and others.”
The new complaint charges that the White House kept “files on [Barr] and routinely disseminated the contents of those files to defendants Carville and Flynt and others, including members of the media, in an effort to intimidate and impede” Barr’s investigation of Clinton. The suit also alleges that the White House kept an enemies list that included all 13 House impeachment managers; Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind.; Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Ark.; Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff; and Judicial Watch’s Larry Klayman, who is serving as Barr’s attorney in the case.
The suit, however, includes no evidence of such collusion.