A veteran FBI agent who wrote derogatory text messages about Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Tuesday charging that the bureau caved to "unrelenting pressure" from the president when it fired him, the AP reports. The suit from Peter Strzok also alleges he was unfairly punished for expressing his political opinions, and that the Justice Department violated his privacy when it shared hundreds of his text messages with reporters. "The campaign to publicly vilify Special Agent Strzok contributed to the FBI's ultimate decision to unlawfully terminate him," the lawsuit says, "as well as to frequent incidents of public and online harassment and threats of violence to Strzok and his family that began when the texts were first disclosed to the media and continue to this day."
The complaint names as defendants Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray and seeks reinstatement to the FBI, back pay, and a declaration that the government violated Strzok's rights. Multiple investigations are underway examining whether the FBI acted properly during the Russia investigation, and Strzok remains a frequent target of Trump's scornful tweets. The suit provides new details about the circumstances of Strzok's firing and amounts to the latest defense of his reputation, coming months after a fiery congressional hearing in which he insisted that his personal views never influenced his work. (See more on the lawsuit here, including what it has to say about Kellyanne Conway.)