Judge: Trump can’t sue NYT for speculating about his ties to Russia

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Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge James d’Auguste dismisses a lawsuit by the Trump campaign against the New York Times. The campaign had argued that an op-ed about Trump’s allegiance with the Russian government during 2016 qualifies as defamation.

The judge’s dismissal is with prejudice, meaning the lawsuit cannot be filed again.

Donald J. Trump for President Inc. claimed that the New York Times published the op-ed with intent to damage Trump’s re-election chances, and they wanted the publisher to pay the campaign millions in damages.

According to the ruling, the Times piece is protected speech. But even if it wasn’t, d’Auguste notes, the campaign’s case has other flaws.

  1. Since the article is in the opinion section of the newspaper, the Times made clear that the context was not intended to be viewed as fact.
  2. A “necessary element” for defamation cases is that the plaintiff is the victim of the alleged defaming. The New York Times does not accuse the Trump campaign — the plaintiff — of any wrongdoing.
  3. If the above statements did not apply, the ruling would stay the same because the campaign is unable to prove that there was intent to damage Trump’s re-election chances.

A federal judge dismissed a similar case against CNN in November because for the third reason above.

External Sources

CNBC (Archived)

The New York Times (Archived)

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