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Man who once took hostages at a Hillary Clinton campaign office foiled in bid to make China pay him $100 million for allegedly spreading Covid-19

A federal judge in Boston today dismissed a frequently imprisoned man's $100-million lawsuit against the People's Republic of China for the way he says it used commercial airliners to send Covid-19 around the world.

Leeland Eisenberg, 61, who gained infamy for holding Hillary Clinton campaign workers hostage at a Clinton office in Rochester, NH in 2007, said he contracted Covid-19 twice and said China owed him bigtime.

But US District Court Judge Indira Talwani said that even if Eisenberg's theory were true, you can't just sue sovereign nations like that in US courts.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act allows for certain exceptions, such as commercial activities. But while airline flights are commercial activities, Talwani said the core of Eisenberg's complaint was that the Chinese government intentionally bred a deadly and easily spread coronavirus variant in a Wuhan lab.

"The commercial activities of the airlines - serving as unwitting conduits for the virus are not the core of his claim," and federal courts simply don't have the power to take action against "high-level policy decisions of the Chinese government," she wrote.

Although Eisenberg is best known for his activities in New Hampshire, his last address filed with the court was at Coolidge House, a halfway house on Huntington Avenue in the Fenway. He told the court he intended to stay in Boston after the end of his federal "supervised release."

Eisenberg spent two years in prison for his Clinton-office stunt. In 2017, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison for robbing a bank in New Hampshire and spent time in federal prisons in Indiana, North Carolina and Rhode Island before being sent to Coolidge House.

In 2020, a federal judge in New Hampshire considered whether to grant him "compassionate release" because he was particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 given a medical history that included heart failure, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema, but rejected the request partly because at the time Coolidge House had a higher rate of Covid-19 than the Indiana prison he was housed at, partly because he had shown himself to be incorrigible.

Defendant represents a danger to the community. Defendant's criminal history spans his entire adult life. It includes both minor offenses (shoplifting, drug possession) and violent and disturbing crimes (rape, kidnapping, stalking, false reports of explosives). For example, in 2007, defendant used the threat of detonating a bomb strapped to himself to hold hostage individuals present at Hillary Clinton's campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire. Defendant also used a threat of violence to perpetrate the bank robbery for which he is currently incarcerated.

Defendant also has a history of violating conditions of his release. He has been found to have violated his parole on multiple occasions. Most relevant and most concerning, he pleaded guilty to escaping from a halfway house in 2013. In light of defendant's dangerous criminal history and inability to abide by conditions of release, the court finds that if released defendant is likely to pose a danger to another person or the community.

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He seems... nice.... and stable..

Maybe in a black vortex he is one. but not here.

Voting closed 12

As some readers will certainly not be surprised to learn, Mr. Eisenberg was representing himself in this suit.

Voting closed 16

I really wonder how much case law ends up being built on the back of batshit insane people's equally batshit suits.

Glad the judge didn't release this guy. The argument can be made whether jail is the best place for him, but they closed all the mental hospitals in the 80s so it's not like there's any better options.

Voting closed 1