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Federal Judge Drops Hammer On Trump Ally For Defying Court Order

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Barry Bennett

A Maryland Circuit Court judge dealt a legal blow to Trump campaign adviser and lobbyist Barry Bennett Tuesday, denying his motion to lift a default judgment against him for defying a court order in a lawsuit brought by political consultant Ying Ma, a former associate who claims she was never paid $300,000 in referral fees.

”You can’t just ignore a court order and that’s what we’re talking about here,” Judge Christopher Fogleman told Bennett’s lawyer Patrick Gaffney during a morning hearing held via Zoom. “You completely ignored an order from this court. …This was not a technical violation. This was a refusal to provide any discovery for more than 18 months.”

Politico reported that “Gaffney provided several explanations for defying the court, including that Ma was passing untrue information about his client to the FBI. He did not offer specifics.”

“The plaintiff, we believe, was making false statements to the FBI and the federal government about my client’s activities,” Gaffney said. The FBI and federal authorities “summarily withdrew themselves … once they realized there was nothing there,” Bennett’s attorney asserted.

Gaffney also said the reason he and his client did not comply with the discovery order was that he was “worried sick” that doing do would cause Bennett’s career “to go further down the tubes.”

But the judge was not buying his excuse, telling him that ignoring the court’s order to turn over information related to the civil suit was not the proper way to address such concerns. The judge said Bennett’s camp could have sought to limit discovery, postpone related deadlines or make certain material confidential, but never made any such request.

As noted by Politico, “Bennett’s firm was seen as one of only a few with good access to the Trump White House, but after Joe Biden’s victory, Bennett announced earlier this year that Avenue was closing down. He attributed the decision to Black Lives Matter protests in downtown Washington, D.C., and to the impact of the coronavirus.”

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