A Russian academic who popped up in news articles regarding Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) and improper contacts with Russian officials is suing those she says defamed her.
Svetlana Lokhova’s name first appeared in a London Times article in February 2017. American audiences learned of her through a Wall Street Journal article in March 2017, two months after Flynn was fired as incoming President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. The WSJ article, according to Lokhova, was laden with innuendo that she had an affair with Flynn after they met in 2014. At that time, Flynn had spoken at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar in Great Britain and was invited to a dinner afterward with several attendees. Lokhova was among the group.
From this encounter, Lokhova says, a man named Stefan Halper, who worked as an FBI informant on the Trump campaign and helped organize the 2014 dinner, worked to smear her and Flynn, causing her professional harm.
“Stefan Halper is a ratf***er and a spy, who embroiled an innocent woman in a conspiracy to undo the 2016 Presidential election and topple the President of the United States of America,” Lokhova wrote in the introduction of her lawsuit, which was filed Thursday.
Lokhova wrote that Halper “misrepresented” her as a “‘Russian spy’ and a traitor to her country and that Plaintiff had an affair with General Flynn on the orders of Russian intelligence.”
Lokhova claims in her lawsuit that Halper helped spread the misinformation about her to the WSJ, and that other media outlets — The New York Times, The Washington post, and MSNBC — picked up the story and ran with it.
As The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross points out, Lokhova offers no “direct evidence that Halper was behind news stories about Lokhova.” She does, however, provide circumstantial evidence that Halper was involved, including a claim that colleagues and reporters told her Halper was spreading the rumors.
Lokhova wrote in her lawsuit that because of the false articles written about her she has been denied career advancement at Cambridge University and elsewhere, a PhD, “valuable book contracts,” and was “forced to flee her country after the birth of her child and to live abroad without a permanent address in order to avoid public scrutiny, invasion of her privacy, and constant public ridicule.”
She also claims her health has “deteriorated,” is distrustful, and “experiences a recurring nightmare about being separated from her baby as a result of arrest on a false charge manufactured by Halper and his handlers.” Finally, she says she has contemplated suicide.
Lokhova filed her lawsuit in federal court in Virginia and is asking for more than $25 million in damages.
Halper reportedly worked for the FBI as an informant for nearly 20 years and, according to Ross, was sent by the Bureau to contact Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who were working on Trump’s campaign:
Halper met Page in July 2016 at a forum at Cambridge. The pair remained in contact through September 2017. In September 2016, Halper reached out to Papadopoulos and offered him $3,000 and a trip to London to discuss writing an academic paper.
Papadopoulos accepted the offer and met with Halper and a woman he claimed was his assistant. The woman, who went by the alias Azra Turk, was actually a government investigator.
Lokhova wrote in her lawsuit that she believed Halper was trying to set her up against Flynn as well. She previously told Fox News that in early 2016, after Flynn was reported to have been advising the Trump campaign, Halper reached out to her to set up a dinner. She hadn’t spoken with Halper since the 2014 dinner.