Former Trump insider and key impeachment witness Gordon Sondland has filed a lawsuit against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the United States requesting reimbursement for $1.8 million in legal fees incurred during the 2019 impeachment investigation of former President Donald Trump.
Sondland served as the United States Ambassador to the European Union and is claiming that the State Department, then led by Mike Pompeo, promised to reimburse him for the legal fees incurred after he dropped a bombshell claiming that Trump aides were attempting to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden and his son Hunter in exchange for military aid.
According to The Washington Post:
Sondland, a Portland hotel magnate appointed by Trump to serve as ambassador, became a key witness of the impeachment probe because of his firsthand knowledge of conversations with Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and senior Ukrainian officials — as well as his punchy answers, affable demeanor and colorful language.
The allegations in the suit also offer new details on Sondland’s rapid devolution from Trump insider to political outcast in the span of days.
The complaint alleges that Pompeo told Sondland that government lawyers would not be made available to represent him but that if he hired his own counsel, his attorney fees would be covered by the U.S. government. Top aides to Pompeo also acknowledged this commitment, the suit alleges, but “everything changed” after Sondland delivered his testimony alleging a “quid pro quo” and then refused to resign despite a request from one of Pompeo’s most trusted aides, Ulrich Brechbuhl.
“Ambassador Sondland confirmed he would not resign because he did not do anything improper. After that, everything changed. Ambassador Sondland did not receive his attorneys’ fees, notwithstanding the promises from the State Department that the attorneys’ fees would be paid,” the suit alleges.
Sondland’s suit demands that either the United States government pay him in taxpayer funds or Mike Pompeo cover his costs personally.