Remember former Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland? The official who testified that there was a quid pro quo during former president Trump’s first impeachment trial is now suing former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. government for nearly two million dollars in legal fees. The federal lawsuit claims that Pompeo welched on a promise to reimburse Sondland for $1.8 million in attorney fees he incurred after he was denied access to government counsel. Here’s a key claim made in the lawsuit:
Sondland was a major donor to Trump’s 2016 campaign and was tabbed to be the administration’s envoy to Brussels. His testimony during the House of Representatives impeachment inquiry in 2019 implicated Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, for trying to coerce Ukrainian leaders to open a probe into the son of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden. Throughout that time, Sondland’s lawsuit claims, Pompeo repeatedly assured him that the State Department would reimburse all of the costs connected to the trial.
The lawsuit claims Pompeo went back on his word after discovering that Sondland would be revising his previous testimony and confirming that Trump wanted a “quid pro quo.”
“After Pompeo learned what Ambassador Sondland’s testimony was before Congress during the 2019 Impeachment Inquiry — words that were entirely candid and truthful (but uncomfortable to the Trump Administration) — Pompeo reneged on his promise.”
BuzzFeed reporter Zoe Tillman wrote that Sondland’s lawyers may be setting the wheels in motion to sue Pompeo personally for the $1.8 million.
Sondland’s theory is that the US is liable for his fees, or alternatively that Pompeo personally is — Sondland is hedging that if the fed govt isn’t responsible, Pompeo can’t claim he was acting in his official capacity and get the civil legal protections that come with that pic.twitter.com/ep1FDxRW1v— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) May 24, 2021
Pompeo has not publicly commented on the lawsuit.