Having made the defamatory claim that Carol Cadwalladr of the Observer and Peter Jukes of Byline Media, or someone on their behalf, improperly obtained the email trove of alleged multi-millionaire Leave EU principal Arron Banks, he and his pal Andy Wigmore have now dug themselves a hole from which they seem in no hurry to extricate themselves. Indeed, Banksy and Wiggy have begun to dig themselves deeper.
This is despite Byline Media indicating legal action against Banks and Wigmore, finding that they were no longer represented by reassuringly expensive lawyers Mishcon de Reya, and the spectacle of Banks, who is supposedly worth millions, having to resort to crowdfunding his legal costs in order to contest the Byline action.
But stop digging? Wiggy was having none of it. “Update on our stolen emails. We now have evidence that they have been widely distributed to US broadcasting organisations and we know who by - the police @ASPolice @metpoliceuk @ThamesVP are investigating” he claimed dishonestly, even tagging Mishcon de Reya, even though they no longer represent him. Or has Wiggy found another shilling for the meter?
Sadly for him, the serially tenacious Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads fame knew that Wigmore’s pants were on fire. “I have been in touch with Avon & Somerset Police. They told me this alleged crime was ‘recorded by Thames Valley Police’. It's likely what Banks/[Wigmore] did was make two entirely irrelevant complaints (and one unsubstantiated one) then pretended 3 forces are investigating (a lie)” he concluded. And there was more.
“Lies take seconds. Revealing truth takes time, and seasoned liars know hands of police are tied in certain respects when it comes to objecting to people alleging things in their name. I am chasing this further, but what Wigmore claims here is false, according data from @ASPolice”. What say Wiggy to that?
“I think you’ll find your [sic] wrong Timmy and as if they would tell you anything - they’ve visited @Arron_banks FYI”. Which means precisely nothing. Ireland was unimpressed.
“I have an email from the @ASPolice Chief Constable’s Staff Office that clearly indicates this was referred to TVP, but thanks for revealing your confidence that they would not go far as to reveal this to me or anyone else. You're playing an old game I am well familiar with”. Meanwhile, Peter Jukes called out Wigmore’s braggadocio.
“I’m looking forward to talking to the police and putting to rest this interminable distracting bullshit. You and Arron were more loyal to Putin than this country and that’s the real crime”. Wiggy tried to make light of a Police investigation fizzling out, followed by a legal bill that would not help his ability to fit out that new basement at his Kensington house.
“As long as you’ve done nothing wrong Pete you’ll be fine - relax”. But Wiggy and Banksy are in trouble, and Banks boasting about an upcoming press feature isn’t helping.
“In an exclusive interview with the Washington Post on Monday we will be discussing , Moscow, Washington , Trump , stolen emails & hacked Material by the @guardian , fake news & the dirty political war being fought” he swaggered, which would have been more effective had he been able to punctuate it competently.
This was most helpful of him, as Byline Media’s lawyers will now have prior notice of the feature and be able to contact the WaPo accordingly. Even more stupidly, Banks has decided to double down on the defamatory accusations on email theft.
“It also appears that not only were emails stolen from Isobel Oakeshott , but emails from http://Leave.EU account after this date. We have at least one instance where a story reported by a @guardian [sic] was highly misleading using selective info” he proffered, trying to maintain a narrative that is only going to end up costing him serious money.
That, of course, will be after the Thames Valley, Avon and Somerset and Metropolitan Police forces file Banksy’s claims NFA. And already the US media is catching up with them, as an article in New York Magazine by Jonathan Chait shows.
Being gobby and hoping nobody bites back might have served Banks and Wigmore well in the past. It won’t do any more. From here is only downhill.