A British family is taking legal action against Trump after he attempted to arrange a surprise meeting between them and the woman who killed their son.
The Trump administration is being sued for “lawless misconduct" by the family of a British teenager killed by an American intelligence officer’s wife.
Harry Dunn, 19, died in August when his motorbike collided with a car driven by Anne Sacoolas, the wife of Jonathan Sacoolas, a U.S. intelligence officer working at a British Air Force base 70 miles outside London.
Sacoolas had been driving on the wrong side of the road, according to police. She initially cooperated with the investigation but claimed diplomatic immunity the next day, halting any potential criminal proceedings.
In a statement after the incident, Sacoolas apologized, claiming she'd had "no time to react" when Dunn drove up over the hill on his motorbike. She wrote that she was "terribly, terribly sorry for that tragic mistake" and had stayed with Dunn until emergency services arrived.
Sacoolas fled the U.K. two weeks after the crash.
The incident became an international scandal in early October, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson disclosed Sacoolas' identity and said he hoped she would return and "engage properly with the processes of laws that carried out in this country." He added that he would discuss the incident "personally with the White House," if necessary.
Trump subsequently invited Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, to the White House. During that visit, Trump unexpectedly proposed Charles and Dunn meet the woman who had killed their son.
According to the family, the suggestion was a "complete shock."
"To be thrown into a room together with no prior warning, that's not good for her mental health, it's certainly not good for ours,” Charles said. "We've got locked-in grief for several weeks. You know, none of us know how we were going to react, to have that sprung on us."
Trump proposed the meeting "two or three times" even after Dunn’s family had expressed their dismay and discomfort.
Radd Sieger, the family’s spokesman, called Trump’s surprise meeting a "disgusting stunt."
"The family was lured to the White House under a pretense only to be ambushed by the Administration who tried to engineer a grotesque meeting between Mrs. Sacoolas and Harry’s parents," Sieger said. "The Trump Administration is not only hellbent on breaking international laws, rules and conventions on diplomatic immunity, but they have no care or concern for the welfare of Harry’s family or real intent on finding a solution."
Trump was criticized earlier this month for his comments on the incident, blaming the crash on "opposite roads."
"The woman was driving on the wrong side of the road. And that can happen, you know. Those are the opposite roads. That happens. I won’t say it ever happened to me, but it did," he told reporters on Oct. 10. "So a young man was killed. The person that was driving the automobile has diplomatic immunity. We’re going to speak to her very shortly and see if we can do something where they meet."
An image of Trump's notes snapped by Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford during that press conference revealed the administration had no plans to return Sacoolas to the U.K. for prosecution.
"(If raised) Note, as Secretary Pompeo told [British] Foreign Secretary Raab, the spouse of the US government employee will not return to the United Kingdom," the notes read.
Raab said recently that Sacoolas’ claim of diplomatic immunity is no longer relevant because she left the country, rendering her original defense worthless.
"The U.K. government's position is that immunity, and therefore any question of waiver, is no longer relevant in Mrs. Sacoolas' case, because she has returned home," Raab wrote in a letter to Dunn's parents. "The U.S. have now informed us that they too consider that immunity is no longer pertinent."
The Trump administration has not yet issued any further comments on the case.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.