The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week handed Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) a key victory in his ongoing lawsuit against Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), making it more likely that McDermott will be forced to pay punitive damages and lawyer’s fees for leaking a taped conversation of GOP leaders way back in 1996.
... an October district court decision that ordered McDermott to pay Boehner $60,000 in damages, plus legal fees that could mount to more than $500,000, said Boehner’s lawyer, Mike Carvin.
Boehner could expect a final decision in a suit that he initiated against McDermott in March of 1998 by the end of this year, according to Carvin.
McDermott is also the subject of a separate and ongoing, investigation by the House Ethics Committee based on a complaint filed by Rep. David Hobson (R-Utah) last year on the leaked tape issue.
McDermott’s legal predicament stems from his leaking to several newspapers a transcript of an audiotape recorded by a Florida couple with eves-dropping equipment of a conference call of GOP leaders on how to handle issues surrounding then-Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
Boehner sued McDermott for violating his privacy and McDermott has since admitted that he provided the tape to reporters.
McDermott, however, has consistently argued that the First Amendment protected his decision to share confidential material with the media.