Peter Strzok, Lisa Page quietly reach ‘tentative agreement’ to stop suing DOJ over Trump texts


Left: Peter Strzok is wearing a white shirt, red tie, and dark jacket and is looking off-camera. Right: Lisa Page is wearing a dark sleeveless top and is looking directly at the camera.

Left: Peter Strzok, center, the FBI agent facing criticism following a series of anti-Trump text messages, walks to gives a deposition before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 27, 2018 (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Right: Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page leaves following an interview with lawmakers behind closed doors on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, July 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page have tentatively agreed to settle Privacy Act violation claims against the U.S. Department of Justice stemming from the 2017 release of anti-Donald Trump texts messages they exchanged in 2015 and 2016.

A joint status report filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia said that the plaintiffs and their former employer had agreed to “resolve all” of their Privacy Act claims, “subject to final approval” by the DOJ. As a result, both sides agreed to halt the lawsuits for one month as the tentative settlement is finalized.

Despite the apparent agreement to end litigation over a number of claims, however, Strzok’s allegations of First Amendment and Fifth Amendment violations still “have not” been resolved.

“Parties hereby request that both cases be stayed until June 28, 2024 in order for the parties to work to reach final written settlements,” the brief court filing noted. “Defendants and Mr. Strzok will file a joint status report on or before June 28, 2024 setting forth their positions on how to proceed with regard to the remaining claims.”

Strzok and Page, remembered for their involvement in both the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server and in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump and his associates, each sued over the release of texts that led to a public shaming and the end of their FBI careers.

Page, who resigned from the FBI, alleged in her lawsuit that the release of the texts violated her privacy rights. Strzok also alleged privacy violations, but further claimed that he was wrongfully terminated for protected speech in violation of the First Amendment and that his Fifth Amendment right to due process was infringed.

More Law&Crime coverage: Rod Rosenstein must sit for deposition in fired FBI agent Peter Strzok’s suit over disclosure of anti-Trump texts

Strzok was grilled before Congress about his texts with Page, including one referring to an “insurance policy” months before Trump’s 2016 election win.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok’s text said. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before 40.”

“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page asked.

“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok answered.

Page later explained that the “we” in the texts wasn’t a reference to the FBI as an institution and didn’t support Trump supporters’ claims of a concocted deep state “insurance policy” against his presidency.

“By ‘we,’ [Strzok’s] talking about the collective we: like-minded, thoughtful, sensible people who were not going to vote this person into office. You know, obviously, in retrospect, do I wish he hadn’t sent it? Yes. It’s been mutilated to death, and it’s been used to bludgeon an institution I love, and it’s meant that I’ve disappointed countless people,” she said. “But this is a snapshot in time carrying on a conversation that had happened earlier in the day that reflected a broad sense of, ‘He’s not going to be president.’ We, the democratic people of this country, are not going to let it happen.”

Page said the release of her texts only led to “two years of lies” about her, and that Trump led the charge in trying to “ruin [her] life.”

The cases garnered significant attention from the start, but an appellate court ruling added a layer of intrigue. Despite the objections of the DOJ under U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s watch, the appellate panel said that Strzok’s team could question former President Trump, not a party to the lawsuits, during a two-hour deposition on a “narrow set of topics.”

An attorney for Strzok declined to comment to Law&Crime on whether Strzok’s First and Fifth Amendment claims will also be resolved.

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