Feld Entertainment Inc., which operates the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, has brought a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit against the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other parties for collaboration to pay more than $190,000 to a witness who gave false testimony in a trial waged against Feld for nine years.
The lawsuit was filed Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., and was reported by the Center for Consumer Freedom.
Feld had been sued for animal cruelty related to the training and performance of Ringling's Asian elephants that was based largely on testimony by Tom Rider, a former Ringling employee who worked as a barn helper in the late 1990s.
However, Columbia District Judge Emmet Sullivan found Rider's testimony to have conflicting answers and to be "not credible." Sullivan also found that the plaintiffs in the case had funneled payments to Rider mostly by Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal through a "pass-through device" called the Wildlife Advocacy Project. Meyer Glitzenstein is a Washington law firm that represented the plaintiffs as their outside firm.
The suit against Feld was brought by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, HSUS and other parties. Sullivan dismissed it outright in December.
Feld is leveling bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice and money laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys, three other animal rights groups, Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal and all three of that firm's named partners.
You can read the lawsuit at http://humanewatch.org/index.php/documents/detail/racketeering_lawsuit_filed_against_hsus_and_its_lawyers/.