Ex-White House hopeful Gabbard drops defamation suit against Hillary Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a campaign event in Lebanon, New Hampshire, U.S., February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tulsi Gabbard, a U.S. congresswoman from Hawaii, dropped a lawsuit against the Democratic Party’s former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for defamation on Wednesday, according to a court filing.

The complaint filed at a New York federal court in January sought at least $50 million in damages from Clinton for harming the reputation of then Democratic presidential hopeful Gabbard by saying Russians were grooming one of the Democratic presidential candidates for a third-party bid. [L1N29R19O]

“She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton told a podcast in October, without naming Gabbard.

Stein was the Green Party candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

A spokesman for Clinton in January dismissed the suit as “ridiculous.”

Gabbard and her campaign filed a notice of dismissal that said they “remain certain of the action’s legal merit” but wished to focus on the coronavirus crisis and “defeating Donald Trump in 2020, rather than righting the wrongs here.”

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Tom Brown