Former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reach settlement with DOJ over release of their text messages

Former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have reached a settlement with the Justice Department after they alleged their privacy rights were violated when their text messages were released and became political fodder for Donald Trump to oppose the Russia investigation during his presidency.

The settlement, described as a “tentative agreement” in a court filing on Tuesday, will resolve in full the 5-year-old case Page brought against her former employer. She had sought financial damages of at least $1,000 for alleged privacy violations after her text messages critical of Trump were released to the media.

Strzok, who was ultimately fired from the FBI, hasn’t settled the portion of his lawsuit in which he sued for backpay and his job back, the filing said.

The settlement has not yet been finalized or approved by a judge. Lawyers for Strzok and Page declined to comment or to provide further detail on the settlement.

Strzok in his 2019 lawsuit had accused the Justice Department of wrongfully terminating him because of Trump’s publicly stated anger toward him and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Strzok played a senior role on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team until he was removed after an internal investigation first revealed his texts with Page, with whom Strzok had an extramarital relationship, which could be read as exhibiting political bias. Page, who had also briefly served on Mueller’s team, resigned from her role as a lawyer for the FBI after the messages were discovered.

Page’s suit alleged that “DOJ and/or FBI officials” provided the messages to reporters “for multiple improper reasons, including to elevate the DOJ’s standing with the President.”

It claimed that journalists were brought to the Justice Department “to review the messages at night, prohibiting the reporters from copying or removing the set of messages from the building, and instructing them not to reveal DOJ as the source.”

Echoing Page’s suit, Strzok’s lawyers added that the defendants “should not be heard to complain about the notoriety and putative damage to the FBI’s reputation from Strzok’s speech when it was their own illegal disclosures, magnified and distorted by the false attacks made by the President and his allies, that placed a spotlight on Strzok’s opinions.”

The suits also led to Trump being deposed last year after a yearslong back and forth, with the Biden Justice Department seeking to shield Trump from giving the testimony, citing legal protections surrounding presidents and their actions while in office. Strzok’s and Page’s attorneys were able to ask Trump at the time about his public statements and other communications he made about the pair in 2017 and 2018.

CNN’s Paul LeBlanc, Laura Jarrett, Josh Campbell, and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.

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