NYT ATTORNEY RESPONDS TO TRUMP ATTORNEY’S WARNING OF DEFAMATION SUIT
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 13, 2016) — On Wednesday evening, The New York Times published an article citing interviews of two women claiming sexual harassment by Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, one allegedly from 2005 and the other from the early 1980s.
One of the reporters who authored the article apparently contacted Trump prior to its publication for comment, to which Trump was quoted as having responded, “None of this ever took place. You are a disgusting human being.”
Neither of the women filed a police report about the alleged incidents.
At approximately the same time on Wednesday as the New York Times publication, Trump campaign manager Stephen K. Bannon was reported to have promised to make public more women with allegations against Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Williams Jefferson Clinton. “We’re going to turn him into Bill Cosby,” Bloomberg News quoted Bannon as having said, referring to more than 30 women who alleged that many years ago, actor Bill Cosby had sexually harassed them.
Cosby has denied the claims.
On Sunday, Trump hosted four women, three of whom claimed to have been harassed or sexually assaulted by Bill Clinton, while the fourth was undoubtedly the 12-year-old victim of a barbaric sexual assault which left her in a coma for five days and unable to have children. The attorney for one of the perpetrators, both of whom were grown men, was the young, court-appointed Hillary Rodham.
Rodham’s client served “less than a year” in jail. Five years after the trial, Hillary was heard laughing when speaking about her client’s ability to pass a polygraph test when she “believed he was guilty.”
An attorney representing Trump, Marc E. Kasowitz, sent a letter Wednesday to The Times asking that the paper retract the article based on his claim that it “is reckless, defamatory, and constitutes libel per se.”
In what could be interpreted as media coordination, “People” Magazine published an article on Thursday morning by writer Natasha Stoynoff, who claimed that she, too, received unwanted advances from Trump in 2005.
The Palm Beach Post reported that a photographer claimed she was groped by Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, quoting her reported photographer colleague as having said it occurred in 2003 at a Ray Charles performance.
Throughout Thursday, mainstream and secondary outlets continued to feature the women’s stories, while a woman claiming to have known one of the New York Times interviewees claimed on social media that the woman lied about having suffered harassment.
Kasowitz’s biography on his website states, in part:
Described by CNBC as the “toughest lawyer on Wall Street” and by Bloomberg Financial News as an “uberlitigator,” Marc E. Kasowitz is widely regarded as one of the preeminent trial lawyers in the country. He has been profiled by The American Lawyer in an article entitled “Heavy Hitter” and in the cover story “Fast Rise to the Top.” Marc has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as one of the country’s top 100 trial lawyers…Opponents cited by The American Lawyer have acknowledged Marc as a “powerhouse” and “the toughest of the tough guys,” and a foreign publication has referred to him as “one of the most prominent and feared lawyers in the United States.”
Kasowitz has been designated a “SuperLawyer” for the years 2006 to 2016. His biography there states that “Mr. Kasowitz has experience with a variety of business-related legal issues, including antitrust actions, breach of contract claims, and mass tort and product liability lawsuits. He has litigated and conducted internal investigations on behalf of boards of directors and management committees, as well as other types of clients.”
The UK Daily Mail published a response written by a representative for The New York Times Times to Kasowitz in which he not only refused to remove the article, but also framed it as having been published in the public interest.
Unless there is a second page to the letter, the signatory, David E. McCraw, did not identify his position inside or outside of The Times. However, CNN Money identified McCraw as “New York Times general counsel.”
In his response, McCraw appeared to allege that Trump’s alleged past statements about women formulated a public perception which Trump “has already created for himself” while denying that the article “has had the slightest effect” on Trump’s reputation.
On Thursday, CNN reported that unnamed “legal experts have doubts that Trump will actually file such a suit.” On Fox News’s “The Five,” co-host and former Bush press secretary Dana Perino also predicted that a lawsuit would not be filed because of the prospect of legal “discovery.”
Revelations contained in Wikileaks’ release of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta beginning on Friday in which Latinos, Catholics and ordinary Americans were ridiculed appear to have received much less coverage than the allegations against Trump which began the same day with a resurrected and possibly illegal recording between Trump and then-“Access Hollywood” co-host Billy Bush, a cousin of Jeb and George W. Bush.
Bush, who had since moved to co-hosting the NBC “Today” show, was fired on Tuesday as a result of the fallout over the recording.
On September 1 of this year, Atty. Charles Harder filed a libel suit on behalf of Trump’s wife, Melania, against the Daily Mail and Tarpley, Inc. for publishing articles which reportedly linked her to a business in which she never participated. A warning letter was issued to a number of outlets prior to the lawsuit’s filing. Although the Daily Mail retracted its story, the lawsuit against it went forward.
Ten years ago, Kasowitz filed a defamation lawsuit on Trump’s behalf against a New York Times writer and his publisher, Warner Books, Inc., citing a book published several months earlier as knowingly inaccurate and therefore defamatory. Kasowitz also said an article about his client in the paper’s Business section was defamatory in the same vein.
In 2011, a New Jersey appellate court ruled in favor of the New York Times writer.
During the 2016 presidential campaign cycle, Trump has often said that The New York Times is a failing publication and that the mainstream media is largely “dishonest.” As of 2012, according to Gallup.com, a majority of Americans agreed with Trump about the media in general.
On September 15, 2016, U.S. News & World Report reported that “distrust of media” was at the “highest level ever.” The following day, the left-leaning “Atlantic” titled one of its articles, “Why Do Americans Distrust the Media?”
A year prior, The Daily Caller enumerated some of the possible reasons.
According to USLegal.com, defamation and libel action for public figures requires that an “actual malice” standard be met by the plaintiff constituting “the defendant’s knowledge of the truth or falsity of the statement.”
An online law dictionary states that “in the law of defamation (libel and slander), a personage of great public interest or familiarity like a government official, politician, celebrity, business leader, movie star or sports hero. Incorrect harmful statements published about a public figure cannot be the basis of a lawsuit for defamation unless there is proof that the writer or publisher intentionally defamed the person with malice (hate).”
On Thursday, retired Judge Andrew Napolitano told Fox Business anchor Stuart Varney that to prevail in a libel lawsuit, Trump would have to prove that The Times employed “reckless disregard” for the truth or “knowledge of falsity” when publishing its article. Both agreed that Trump faces “a very high bar” in proving his case as a public figure.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.