The campaign of President Donald Trump is suing The New York Times for libel over a 2019 opinion piece that it accuses of presenting false claims with the intention of harming Trump’s chances for re-election, CNBC reports.
The article in question, “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo,” was written by Max Frankel and published on March 27, 2019.
In the article, Frankel claims that Trump’s campaign had a deal with Vladimir Putin’s oligarchy: Russia would help Trump against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and the Trump administration would engage in pro-Russia foreign policy.
“The Times was well aware when it published these statements that they were not true,” the lawsuit reads.
“The Times’ own previous reporting had confirmed the falsity of these statements,” the lawsuit added.
Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser for Trump’s campaign, called the article “false and defamatory” and agreed that the publication was ware of this.
“The complaint alleges The Times was aware of the falsity at the time it published them, but did so for the intentional purpose of hurting the campaign, while misleading its own readers in the process.”
As reported by The Hill, the lawsuit will be an uphill battle for the Trump campaign. The publication pointed to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in New York Times v. Sullivan, which “severely restricted” the potential for public officials to sue for defamation. In the landmark case, the court demanded that the plaintiff prove the alleged false statements with “actual malice,” meaning Trump’s camp will have to provide evidence that Frankel wrote the piece with the explicit intention of sinking the president’s 2016 campaign.
Today, Team Trump filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Times over a story falsely reporting as fact a conspiracy with Russia.
— Team Trump (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@TeamTrump) February 26, 2020
The Trump campaign is reportedly being represented by media law attorney Charles Harder, who has represented wrestler Hulk Hogan, who successfully sued Gawker Media, leading to the close of the news and gossip website. He has also represented multiple members of the Trump family.
It’s not Harder’s first brush with The New York Times, either. In 2017, he threatened to sue the publication on behalf of convicted criminal and former Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Trump is planning to erase the findings of former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation from history. Political commentator John Stoehr claims that Trump may go as far as to try to jail Mueller.
In a piece for his website, The Editorial Board, Stoehr claims that believing Trump’s next move is to pardon Roger Stone and Michael Flynn shows a “lack of imagination.”
“He wants blood,” he journalist wrote.