In February, “Ricky” signed for a federal lawsuit delivered to former President Trump and then vanished.
Since then, people in both Trump’s camp and the team pressing the lawsuit on behalf of Mississippi Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson have been left scratching their heads, about who, exactly, the mysterious “Ricky” is and why he accepted mail for the former president.
Over the past couple of weeks, typically knowledgeable sources on both sides have responded to The Daily Beast’s inquiries with their own questions, such as “Who the hell is Ricky?” and “Do YOU know who Ricky is?”
Now, the “Ricky”—just “Ricky,” no last name listed—mystery has spilled into federal court where Trump’s attorney Jesse Binnall asked the judge for more time to respond to Thompson’s lawsuit in part following the difficulty in identifying the unknown signator. In a motion filed late Thursday evening, Binnall wrote that a “Ricky” appeared to have signed for a lawsuit sent to Trump—and then this person didn’t actually deliver the papers to the twice-impeached former president yet.
“Plaintiff attempted to serve Mr. Trump by certified mail on February 23, 2021. That parcel was signed for by an unknown individual identified only as ‘Ricky,’” the court filing reads. Binnall also states, “Mr. Trump contests whether that service was legally effective.”
A return of service receipt filed in early March shows that someone named “Ricky” signed for the documents at Trump’s private club of Mar-a-Lago in Florida, according to the document.
However, Binnall also said that his client’s position that the service was potentially botched “is moot because the parties have decided to focus on the substantive disputes at hand and have agreed to an extension of time for Mr. Trump to respond to the complaint, up to and including April 26, 2021.”
Judge Amit Mehta and attorneys for Democratic Rep. Thompson agreed to the Trump team’s request for an extension and the former president now has until April 26 to file a response to the suit.
Binnall declined to comment to The Daily Beast on this story Monday night.
Florida state law allows lawsuits to be served by certified mail when addressed to defendants.
Thompson’s suit, filed on his behalf by lawyers from the NAACP, accuses Trump, attorney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and the far-right Oath Keepers militia and Proud Boys of violating the century-old Klan Act by allegedly conspiring to interfere with civil rights by preventing congressional officials from doing their duty in certifying Joe Biden’s electoral college victory on Jan. 6.
Thompson argues that Trump, Giuliani’s incendiary rhetoric about a “stolen” election, and the involvement of Oath Keeper and Proud Boys members in the Jan. 6 riot amounted to a conspiracy to deprive Americans of their civil rights. Despite Trump and Republicans’ months-long, conspiracy-theory-fueled crusade to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Biden clearly and decisively defeated the GOP incumbent president in the Electoral-College and popular-vote counts.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell has filed a similar suit against Trump and Giuliani, which named Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Rep Mo Brooks (R-AL) as additional defendants.
Those defending Trump, and who have defended him in the recent past, have already been prepping legal and public-relations strategies on free-speech grounds. Alan Dershowitz, a member of the Trump legal defense during the former president’s first impeachment trial, previously told The Daily Beast that though “nobody [on the Trump team] has reached out to me yet” about this lawsuit, Dershowitz believes that the ex-president’s rhetoric at his Jan. 6 speech in DC is “protected by the First Amendment” and “I would hope that the ACLU would take on a case like this.”