NYT lawyer issues a bring-it-on reply to Trump libel suit threat

After the article about two women alleging sexual misconduct against the GOP nominee, a Trump lawyer demanded a retraction and apology. The Times issued a rapier-like response.

So you say your corporate legal team is stodgy and slow to respond?

Perhaps your counselors might take a cue from an attorney for The New York Times.

Lawyers for the Old Gray Lady have responded in striking fashion to Marc Kasowitz, an attorney for GOP nominee Donald Trump. Kasowitz demanded that the Times retract an article published this week, in which two women alleged Trump had perpetrated unwanted sexual contact against each of them, separately, some years ago.

If the report was not retracted and pulled from the NYT website, Kasowitz threatened, Trump would sue the paper for libel. (Kasowitz also demanded an apology.)

David McCraw, a lawyer for the Times, pulled no punches, ostensibly daring Trump to take the Times to court.

“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,” McCraw wrote in a terse letter.

The Times’ letter cites Trump’s boasting about his non-consensual touching of women and barging in on beauty contestants in their dressing rooms, not to mention allowing a radio host to refer to Trump’s own daughter as a “piece of ass.”

McCraw further says that given Trump’s status as GOP nominee, such matters are inherently issues of national interest.

In his have-a-nice-day (in so many words) conclusion, McCraw suggests that any litigation would not end well for Trump or his counsel.

Publishing the letter online, including social media, for the world to see has also renewed traction for the original article—a savvy move by the Times, and not such good news for Trump.

As for the spicier language, your legal eagles on the fourth floor might not be inclined to approve “piece of ass” for a product recall or IPO announcement, ’tis true.

Still, extraordinary times—and circumstances—call for extraordinary measures, and the Times’ response shows that sometimes the best way to fight fire is with a big bucket of cold water.

Here’s the letter in its entirety:

Topics: PR

COMMENT

Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.