On Wednesday, October 12th, The New York Times published a piece detailing allegations made by two women claiming that Donald Trump touched them inappropriately. And as you might expect very shortly thereafter Trump took to Twitter to express his dismay…
The phony story in the failing @nytimes is a TOTAL FABRICATION. Written by same people as last discredited story on women. WATCH!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2016
The failing @nytimes reporters don't even call us anymore, they just write whatever they want to write, making up sources along the way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2016
In addition to rattling off a few “well thought out” tweets, his campaign lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, also swiftly sent an equally well thought out letter to Dean Basquet, the Executive Editor of the Times.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that we’re a little (incredibly) sick of Trump and his team’s antics as his campaign flounders coming down the home stretch of arguably the least successful presidential bid in history.
However, this particular indiscretion did allow for a rare situation where we received both the hero we needed and the one we deserved.
Cue New York Times Assistant General Council and Albany Law School alumnus, David McCraw, who clapped back with a strongly worded letter of his own:
Along with his team, it took McCraw just a little over an hour in total to compose his rebuttal and it proceeded to sit atop nytimes.com’s “most emailed” and “most viewed list” for days following its publication.
And he did not pull any punches. Not only did he attack the grasp of the law possessed by Trump’s legal team he also took a shot at the Republican Nominee’s character:
“The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation.”
“Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”
The letter inspired a tremendous array of responses from calls for him to be disbarred to arguments over whether or not one space or two should follow a period. And in the midst of the broad range of feedback he also garnered tremendous support and appreciation from women for his words.
“…There is a larger and much more important point here. The women quoted in our story spoke about an issue of national importance.”
“I felt you were also speaking … for all of the women that have been bullied after reporting sexual harassment/assault/abuse. For that I sincerely thank you.” – New York Times Reader
And to close things out, he took the big swing and officially put the ball firmly in Trump’s court:
“We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”
And the idea of a larger-than-life adversary is not new to Mr. McCraw. His previous sparring partners include The National Football League, The Department of Defense, and The Obama Administration… over 20 times.
So…Mr. Trump is seemingly a little fish in an enormous pond when it comes to McCraw’s opponents.
The only downfall to this story is that we likely won’t get to see McCraw in action. As Reuters points out Trump hasn’t sued a news organization for libel since the Chicago Tribute in 1984 (for an architecture critic describing his proposed Manhattan skyscraper as an “atrocious, ugly monstrosity”).
However, in a perfect world where this lawsuit is carried out we will have the pleasure of watching McCraw and his team have the opportunity to dismantle Trump’s entire life… all while playing with house money. This is because the Supreme Court has set a very high standard of proof when it comes to proving libel in a case between a news outlet and a public figure as outlined in New York Times v. Sullivan.
Trump’s team will have to prove the story was written with a malice, which will be incredibly difficult due to the wording strategically used in the article.
The “get your popcorn” moment for America would occur during the discovery phase and any depositions in which all the skeletons can be summoned from their closets. This is the primary reason why the Times is practically begging to bring this contest to court.
Elie Mysal, from Above the Law, puts the cause of their excitement into simple terms:
“Other documents, or videos, about Trump’s past sexual conduct would become relevant. Trump would be deposed, under oath, about his sexual escapades. The Times would LOVE Donald Trump to sue them over this. They’d never settle. There would be a public trial where all this stuff would come out. They’d win a freaking Pulitzer.”
Every single woman Trump has ever kissed or laid a hand on would qualify as a character witness and not only all the tapes we have already heard be admissible in court, but also any of the rumored ones out there as well. This potentially includes the those from his time on “The Apprentice,” which are rumored to contain both racial slurs and sexual harassment.
The last high-profiled discovery process Trump participated in was during a lawsuit against Tim O’Brien for writing in his book that Trump was worth considerably less than he led on. This event went relatively smoothly, oh well, except for Trump lying 30 times.
Even though it doesn’t look like Taylor Swift will stand up against Trump for us, David McCraw is ready to accept the burden… as long as Trump is dumb enough to give him a chance to.
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