Statute Of Limitations Has Run Out On Trump's Bogus Promise To Sue The NY Times

from the fake-news dept

A year ago, we wrote in great detail about just how ridiculous it was that then Presidential candidate Donald Trump's lawyers had threatened to sue the NY Times over a story about two women who claimed that Trump had groped them inappropriately. Trump insisted to the NY Times that none of it happened, and one of his favorite lawyers, Marc Kasowitz sent a letter calling the story "reckless, defamatory, and constitutes libel per se." It also demanded the article be removed from the Times' website and that a "full and immediate retraction and apology" be posted instead. The letter insisted that "failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies."

Of course, as we noted at the time, there was basically no chance that Trump would actually sue. The NY Times hit back hard with its response, and it's not a paper easily intimidated by bogus legal threats. Still, it is noteworthy that this week the one year statute of limitations on defamation claims (in New York) passed... and no lawsuit has been filed (though, amusingly, as the Hollywood Reporter points out, the Kasowitz letter demanding a retraction is still posted to Trump's website).

As we said last year about this story, it was even more evidence for why we need a strong federal anti-SLAPP law (or, at the very least, stronger state anti-SLAPP laws). New York's anti-SLAPP law remains painfully weak. And while that might not matter directly, since Trump didn't sue, the rise in these kinds of lawsuits and similar threats of lawsuits would be helped tremendously with stronger laws protecting those who the powerful seek to censor and scare. Obviously, Trump might not be too keen on signing such a law right now, but Congress should be working on this. SLAPP suits are becoming an entire industry, helping the rich and powerful silence critics. Congress has the power to stop this abuse of judicial process, and it should follow through.


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