Strzok claims anti-Trump texts protected by 1st Amendment, administration violated his rights
Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who is suing the government in a bid for reinstatement, argued in a court filing in Washington, D.C., federal district court on Monday that his politically charged anti-Trump messages were protected by the First Amendment -- even though he sent them on bureau-issued phones while playing leading roles in the probes into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
"Firing an employee for the content of his or her non-public communications is unconstitutional, irrespective of any balancing of interests" including damage to the FBI's reputation and other factors, Strzok argued in his response brief, which also slammed Trump's "unpresidential tweets."
Because it was the DOJ that had leaked his anti-Trump text messages, Strzok argued, his texts should be considered private speech, and he should not be held to the tougher legal standard under the 1968 Supreme Court case Pickering v. Board of Education that applies to public statements by government employees.
Strzok, once the FBI's head of counterintelligence, said he was entitled to "develop a full factual record through discovery," and that it would be premature to dismiss the case at this early stage. He went on to argue that the DOJ's position would "leave thousands of career federal government employees without protections from discipline over the content of their political speech."
Strzok's filing was a response to the Justice Department's no-holds-barred motion to dismiss his lawsuit for reinstatement in November. The DOJ told the court that Strzok had even admitted to conducting FBI business on his personal iMessage account and assured them that the materials were secure -- even though his wife accessed his phone and determined he was having an affair with Lisa Page, then an FBI lawyer also involved in the Clinton and Russia probes.
Please click the link to continure the article