State Dept. says defendant in GOP donor's hacking case has diplomatic immunity

State Dept. says defendant in GOP donor's hacking case has diplomatic immunity

The State Department said Wednesday that a diplomat accused of hacking Republican donor Elliot Broidy's emails is entitled to diplomatic immunity.

NBC News reported that the office of Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNikki HaleyThe 10 Republicans most likely to run for president Will — or should — Kamala Harris become the Spiro Agnew of 2022? Haley has 'positive' meeting with Trump MORE determined that Jamal Benomar, a British citizen born in Morocco, should receive diplomatic privileges and immunities.

Benomar spent 25 years working with the U.N. as an envoy for Yemen and an adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and asserted earlier this year he's currently working as a diplomat for Morocco.

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"Based on this information, we have registered Benomar with diplomatic privileges and immunities," a spokesman for Haley's office told NBC.

Broidy, a former deputy finance chairman for the Republican National Committee (RNC), is suing Benomar over allegations he played a role in the hack and distribution of his emails.

Broidy claimed in March that Qatar was responsible for spreading his emails to U.S. news outlets.

NBC reported that the emails showed how Broidy sought to use his access to the president to try and secure private contracts with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for his company.

An attorney representing Broidy denied these claims in the NBC report.

Qatar has denied it was involved in the hack.

NBC reported that Broidy's lawyers have argued Benomar only asserted diplomatic immunity after Broidy filed his lawsuit, and further claimed that such immunity would not extend to the alleged hacking scheme.

A U.S. official told NBC that Benomar's immunity status does, in fact, extend beyond his actions as a diplomat for Morocco.

Broidy resigned from his post at the RNC in April after he admitted to paying an unnamed woman $1.6 million in 2017 after she became pregnant with his child.

– This story was updated Nov. 15 at 11:28 a.m. to reflect a statement from Broidy's lawyer