Mueller Dirt Solicited From VLS Professor

Submitted 3 months ago
Created by
Dylan Kelley, Staff Writer

Conspiracy Firm Reaches Out to VLS

A professor at Vermont Law School (VLS) received an email seeking information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s past from someone claiming to be a researcher with Surefire Intelligence—a company linked to a partisan who publishes conspiracy theories that favor President Donald Trump.
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Jennifer Taub, a professor of law at VLS’s New Economy Law Center, received an email on Monday, October 22 requesting information about any previous encounters she may have had with Mueller.

“It’s my understanding that you may have had some past encounters with Robert Mueller,” the email began. “I would like to discuss these encounters with you.” The email, which was sent by Simon Frick of Surefire Intelligence, offered to compensate Taub for information, also urged discretion due to the issue being “a very sensitive matter.”

“My organization is conducting an examination of Robert Mueller’s past,” the message read. “Tell me a decent method to contact you by telephone (or Signal, which would be ideal) and a beginning rate to talk with you about all encounters you’ve had with Special Counsel Mueller.”

Taub, who closely follows the special counsel’s investigation, was initially surprised to receive the email at all.

“I looked at this and my first thought was ‘but I don’t know Robert Mueller,’” said Taub in a telephone interview on Wednesday afternoon. “I just kind of stared at it and thought ‘this is really creepy.’”

After deciding against responding to the message, Taub forwarded the email to the Special Counsel’s Office later that afternoon.

She also sent a screenshot of the message to two friends in the legal field, Jed Shugerman and Mimi Rocah— each of whom are close followers of the Mueller investigation. They considered the Surefire email disturbing, Taub said. Caught up in the tumultuous news cycle of last week, Taub had mostly forgotten about the request for information until she read of similar requests for information about Mueller’s past that were reported in The Atlantic by Natasha Bertrand on Tuesday.

Bertrand’s report—which was updated after Taub shared the email she received—revealed that another woman had been offered $20,000 by Surefire Intelligence in exchange for making false claims of sexual misconduct against Mueller. The Special Counsel’s Office has since referred the matter to the FBI.

For Taub, the request for apparently incriminating information remains “awfully clueless,” given her active presence on network news and social media—often voicing opposition to President Trump.

As for her thoughts about the story detailed in The Atlantic, Taub—a legal scholar and author—wonders about the bigger picture.

“If I weren’t directly involved in this, and if I was just thinking about this from a legal perspective, I would want to know who was involved and what the plan was,” said Taub. “If the plan here is obstruction of justice, then maybe there was conspiracy to obstruct justice that was being planned.”

“What’s quite ironic,” she added, “is [that] that’s what we’re studying right now in my white-collar crime class.”


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