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AG sees end to fight with Google
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan says he has been fighting a year-long legal battle against Internet service provider Google, but it may come to an end this month, bringing closure to the E-mailgate scandal. Ramlogan said yesterday he expected to get a sworn, signed declaration from Google clearing him, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other colleagues “from a malicious political conspiracy” brought to Parliament in May 2013 by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian yesterday, Ramlogan said the legal battle was a lengthy process and at the end of it he hoped to sue Rowley both locally and abroad.
“I was forced to take pre-emptive and proactive legal action to ensure that relevant information was not deleted from the Google servers. Google would obviously not have an indefinite retention policy for e-mails on its servers. We are now awaiting approval to get a sworn, signed declaration from Google certifying the results. It is my hope that will be completed before the end of this month or as early as the end of this week,” Ramlogan said.
Ramlogan said he instituted legal proceedings against Google so that he could finally clear his name in the E-mailgate scandal. “I did this so I can sue those responsible for this malicious political conspiracy that was designed to assassinate and damage the character and reputation of the Prime Minister, myself and my colleagues to extract political mileage on a fraudulent document and a matrix of lies.”
Ramlogan said that instead of seizing the electronic devices of government officials, law enforcement officers should have explored the servers at Google to verify the source and content of the e-mails. But he said Google resisted his initial attempts to get information.
“Google has erected several formidable legal hurdles because it strongly resisted disclosure of the requested information on the basis that it will create a precedent that could lead to an avalanche of similar requests from tens of millions of subscribers internationally. In fact, Google indicated that it routinely receives and refuses such requests,” he said.
“Whilst they were happy to provide the requested information via e-mail, they did not want to give a signed sworn affidavit declaration, which my lawyers argued for and insisted upon,” the AG said, adding, “My subpoena was served on Google a long time ago and we have only just been nearing the finish line.” He said both the Prime Minister’s and his e-mail accounts had been searched.