Saturday, February 24, 2018

Google must authenticate e-mails

Google has to answer and authenticate the alleged e-mails that were sent and received from the     e-mail accounts of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

This, according to attorney Christopher Sargent of the American based law firm — Computer Law Group LLP which was retained last year by Ramlogan to take action against Google.

Sargent responded yesterday to emailed questions from the Express with respect to the subpoena sent to Google compelling it to provide information.

Asked whether Google can refuse to comply to the subpoena and whether privacy laws would pose a challenge, Sargent responded: “The California courts have the power to compel Google to comply with the subpoena and can issue increasingly severe sanctions should Google refuse to comply. Here, Google agreed to search the e-mail accounts of the Honourable Attorney General and Prime Minister, and our client has insisted on sworn testimony regarding the search and its results. As noted above, we are currently awaiting a sworn affidavit.”

“My firm was retained by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in his personal capacity; all payments provided to our firm have come from Mr Ramlogan’s personal account. After sending Google a letter requesting the production of documents, several weeks later a complaint was filed in the Santa Clara Superior Court on June 26, 2013,” stated Sargent when asked when was the application filed in the US court.

Asked whether Google has been cooperative thus far in providing the requested information, Sargent stated: “Our managing partner, Jack Russo, has stated, ‘In the future, just as in the present, Google is playing a larger and larger role in the management of information critical to litigation, and without Google’s cooperation in the collection and return of accurate data about what was actually an e-mail address and what was actually emailed through their Gmail (and other) systems, it will be difficult if not impossible to obtain the truth; thus, we fully support Google cooperating with all parties to obtain all authentic and genuine records in the Google system and we have ourselves in multiple rounds of subpoena process over Google with the same truth —  finding goals on behalf of our client, the Honorable Anand Ramlogan, whom we fully expect to be vindicated by all this’.’’

The Integrity Commission has also retained the services of an American attorney- Gina Durham, a partner at DLP Piper law firm — to file a subpoena in the US courts to compel Google to provide information to assist in their investigations into “Emailgate”.

In court documents filed by Durham, she outlines the seriousness of the case and the high-level parties involved which includes the Prime Minister, Attorney General etc.

Asked whether he also outlined the gravity of the allegations in its action against Google, Sargent responded, “The action my firm filed for Attorney General includes claims by Mr Ramlogan under California law for conspiracy to ruin, defamation, invasion of privacy, and others. The defendants named in that action were and are “John and Jane Doe” as we are not currently aware of who caused the significant harm my client has suffered, and upon discovery of the actual person behind this wrongful conduct, any such persons will be named as the defendant in the pending action in California.

“Furthermore, it has been and continues to be my understanding that the statements made against Attorney General Ramlogan underlying the claims we filed are quite serious, and if substantiated, could lead to criminal charges against Mr Ramlogan. Our client seeks further vindication that these alleged e-mails were not sent from or received by his e-mail account to support the institution of legal proceedings in the appropriate forum against those responsible for these damaging and defamatory allegations against himself and the Prime Minister,” stated Sargent. 



\\\ On May 20, 2013 Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley, during his motion of no confidence against the People’s Partnership government and the Prime Minister, disclosed the contents of 31 e-mails purporting to be exchanges between Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, AG Ramlogan,  Minister of Local Government Surujrattan Rambachan and National Security adviser to the Prime Minister, Gary Griffith. 

\\\ The e-mails alleged that these high office holders were conspiring to harm a journalist, plant bugs in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and offer  the DPP a judgeship with respect to the Section 34 fiasco in September 2012.