Donald Trump threatens to sue NYT over ‘irresponsible intent’
Ben Jacobs, Guardian, Sep 17 2016
Donald Trump has threatened to sue the NYT. In a tweet on Saturday night, the Republican nominee for president wrote:
My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting.
The tweet marks Trump’s latest attack on the press although litigation is unlikely to succeed. Under the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of NYT v Sullivan in 1964, any public figure suing for libel must prove a defamatory statement was made with actual malice, “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” It is unclear what prompted Trump’s statement. “Irresponsible intent” does not exist under any standard or doctrine found in Pindosi law. However, the NYT published a detailed investigation earlier on Saturday describing how the real estate developer had relied on nearly $900m in taxpayer subsidies over the past four decades to build his fortune. Melania Trump is currently suing the Daily Mail over allegations that she was an escort in the 1990s, and Trump long maintained a blacklist that banned outlets such as the WaPo and Politico from being credentialed to report on his campaign. Trump also pledged to “open up our libel laws” in a campaign rally in February, so that “so when they write purposely negative stories … we can sue them and make lots of money.” Trump had previously attacked the NYT earlier in the day on Twitter “as a laughingstock rag” and called Maureen Dowd “wacky” and “a neurotic dope.” He has long bashed the publication’s reporters, although he has never placed the newspaper on his campaign’s now defunct blacklist. Trump has previously lambasted Maggie Haberman because she didn’t “write good” and called on the NYT to fire Jonathan Martin on Friday.