Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) v. Paul David Gaubatz, et al.

AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise are defending the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and several of its employees, who were sued by CAIR for conducting an undercover documentary designed to expose the Islamic organization’s improper activities.

During the early part of 2008, Dave Gaubatz, an experienced federal investigator, was hired as an independent contractor to assist with a field research documentary on which CSP was working.  Dave Gaubatz trained his son, Chris, for the task of working undercover as an intern with CAIR.  During the internship, Chris wore an audio-video recorder on his clothing to obtain recordings of the routine activities of an intern at the organization.  The recording device was designed to record only visual images and audio of conversations in which Chris was a party.

Chris began the Internship at one of CAIR’s offices in Herndon, Virginia (“CAIR-MD/VA”), and after this office closed down, he sought continuation of the internship at CAIR’s D.C. offices.

At some point during Chris’s Internship at CAIR-MD/VA, it became clear to him that a major fraud had taken place and that CAIR officials and employees were attempting to cover it up.  Specifically, CAIR had employed a man by the name of Morris Days as its “resident attorney” and “civil rights manager” to operate CAIR’s legal department representing members of the public in various civil rights cases.

Days was not an attorney, and he had defrauded CAIR clients by taking money for legal services, not performing legal work CAIR claimed had been performed, and other fraudulent acts.  Chris informed his father sometime in April or May 2008, that Khalid Iqbal, a CAIR official, had asked him to shred some of the documentary evidence of this fraud and to box up other documentary evidence to be removed to CAIR’s offices in D.C.

When Chris noted that both sets of documents included critical evidence of the fraud, he preserved the documents and prevented them from being destroyed.  Dave Gaubatz instructed his son that it was his affirmative legal duty to preserve evidence of what he reasonably believed was a crime and that it was improper to assist or aid in the destruction of such evidence.

During his Internship at CAIR in Washington, D.C., Chris found additional documents that he reasonably believed contained evidence of crimes committed by CAIR, such as violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act and providing material support to terrorist organizations.  These documents were preserved as well.

Following the conclusion of his contractual work on the CSP documentary, Dave Gaubatz collected his field research and published a book entitled, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America, which was an expose on CAIR.

Shortly after the book was published, CAIR filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. against Dave and Chris Gaubatz.  CAIR then amended its lawsuit to add CSP and several of its employees.  CAIR’s lawsuit alleges violations of various federal wiretap and hacking statutes as well as several common law torts, such as breach of fiduciary duty and trespass, among others.

Yerushalmi and Muise filed a motion with the court, asking it to dismiss several of CAIR’s legal claims as a matter of law.  For example, in the motion they argued that the court should dismiss the federal wiretapping claims because Chris Gaubatz was at all times a party to every recorded conversation.  The statute does not prohibit the recording of conversations in which at least one party consents to the recording, as in this case.

CASE UPDATE: (May 2, 2012): AFLC attorneys filed a motion and memorandum of law explaining to the court that the case is ripe for the court to rule in their client’s (CSP) favor against CAIR as a matter of law (summary judgment).  Read the motion and memorandum here.

CASE UPDATE: (June 1, 2012): AFLC attorneys filed a reply brief in support of their request that the court grant them leave to file a motion for summary judgment.  Read the reply brief here.

CASE UPDATE (February 8, 2013): Judge denies CAIR’s motion to extend discovery.

CASE UPDATE (May 20, 2013): AFLC filed its motion for summary judgment, accompanying memorandum of law, and dozens of supporting documents.

CASE UPDATE (March 27, 2014): The court denied CAIR’s motion for partial summary judgment, thereby setting the stage for the case to go to a jury trial.

CASE UPDATE (April 23, 2014): AFLC filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that the court made several fundamental errors and should have granted summary judgment in AFLC’s favor on additional claims.

CASE UPDATE (May 23, 2014): AFLC filed a renewed motion for summary judgment and memorandum in support.

CASE UPDATE: The court denied the motions for summary judgment, sending the case to a jury trial.  The parties have been engaging in pretrial motion practice.  The case is awaiting the completion of these pretrial matters so that a trial date may be set.