Gordan Sondland a former diplomat in the Trump administration who testified in Donald Trump’s first impeachment investigation in the House, is suing former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the State Department over unpaid legal fees.
Sondland, Trump’s former ambassador to the European Union is seeking $1.8 million in damages, according to court documents.
In the lawsuit, Sondland said he reached an agreement with then-Secretary of State Pompeo to cover any legal fees that resulted from him complying with a subpoena from the House looking into allegations Trump withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on then-candidate Joe Biden.
Sondland’s testimony was damning to the Trump White House. He told House investigators that there was quid pro quo connected to a meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Sondland’s lawsuit said when Pompeo found out what his testimony was before the House, he reneged on their deal.
“After Pompeo learned what Ambassador Sondland’s testimony was before Congress during the 2019 Impeachment Inquiry—words that were entirely candid and truthful (but uncomfortable to the Trump Administration)—Pompeo reneged on his promise,” the lawsuit said. “As a result, the Government has withheld reimbursement of Ambassador Sondland’s attorneys’ fees and costs in willful breach of the October 2019 agreement between Pompeo, the Government and Ambassador Sondland.”
The lawsuit also alleged that the government did not provide legal counsel for Sondland even though he was “subpoenaed in his capacity as an official Government diplomat.”
“Defendants bucked normal convention and denied him the services of any Government counsel,” the lawsuit said. “This act was especially problematic in this instance because the amount of preparation needed to comply with the subpoenas was staggering. Ambassador Sondland was required to prepare for highly charged testimony under oath with international scrutiny without access to materials or anyone from the Government agencies which had knowledge of all the facts relevant to his testimony. Ambassador Sondland was forced to create a new team to reconstruct all the materials needed and to prepare for this daunting task.”
Sondland was fired by the Trump administration days after the Republican-controlled Senate acquit him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in the impeachment trial.