DOJ reaches settlement with former FBI ‘lovebirds’ caught in anti-Trump text scandal

Former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page settled with the Justice Department over alleged privacy violations after the release of their derogatory text messages used by former President Trump to challenge the investigation on Russia during his presidency.

The settlement is still awaiting finalization and approval by a judge.

A tentative agreement was filed Tuesday ending Page’s five-year-old lawsuit against the FBI for publishing text messages with Strzok — with whom she was having an affair — that criticized the former president. Strzok’s lawsuit seeking back pay and reinstatement remains unresolved.

Page demanded $1,000 in compensation after his text messages were leaked to the media. Additional details about the settlement were not immediately available.

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Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are former FBI officials whose extramarital affair was exposed when their anti-Trump text messages were released. (Chip Somodevilla/Staff I Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Contributor)

In 2019, Strzok argued in a filing in federal district court in Washington, D.C., that his politically charged anti-Trump messages were protected by the First Amendment, even though he sent them on phones issued by the office while playing a leading role in the investigations of both. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Strzok, the FBI’s former counterintelligence chief, said he had the right to “build a complete factual record through discovery,” and that it would be premature to close the case at this early stage. He went on to assert that the DOJ’s position “would leave thousands of career federal government employees without disciplinary protection regarding the content of their political speech.”

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Page also filed suit against the FBI and the Justice Department, alleging that the government’s release of his salacious text messages with Strzok was a violation of federal privacy law.

Page’s complaint also sought reimbursement for “child care and transportation expenses to multiple investigative reviews and congressional appearances,” the “cost of paying for a data privacy service to protect his information personal” and attorney’s fees.

Donald Trump at the defense table in the courtroom

Former President Trump, Republican presidential candidate, sits in the courtroom during his secret trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, May 21, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/PoolAFP via Getty Images)

In a subsequent filing, according to CNN, Strzok’s lawyers wrote that the defendants “should not be heard complaining about the notoriety and putative damage to the FBI’s reputation caused by Strzok’s speech as he s These were their own illegal disclosures, amplified and distorted by the false attacks. made by the president and his allies, which highlighted Strzok’s views. »

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Peter Strzok, former FBI agent, at a congressional hearing

Former FBI official Peter Strzok was fired in 2018 for sending anti-Trump texts. (Reuters)

Both men were involved in the FBI’s initial counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 election and later served on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

In 2020, attention was focused on the lovers’ scandal during a live performance titled “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), based on anti-Trump text messages shared between alumni agents. Trump has called the couple “FBI lovebirds” at his rallies.

Gregg Re and Brooke Singman of Fox News contributed to this report.

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