The New York Times published a story on Wednesday, October 12, 2016, on two women who claim to have been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. A lawyer for Trump, a GOP presidential candidate, threatened to sue if the stories were not taken down. An attorney for the New York Times put out a statement saying, “We welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.” He also said that there was not much merit to the claim and if he were Trump’s lawyer he would direct him not to file a suit over an allegation such as this.
In order to prove actual malice and form a suit against the New York Times, Trump would have to show that the New York Times knew the story was false and/or acted recklessly. A lawyer for the New York Times explained how recklessness is hard to prove and would be hard to prove in the current situation. According to the New York Times, its reporters worked hard and diligently to confirm the women’s stories, therefore, recklessness would most likely be out of the question. It would also be difficult to prove malice because the motive of the New York Times is unclear.
In regards to defamation, Trump would have to prove that the story harmed his reputation and not just furthered to show his behavior. A lawyer for the New York Times said that Trump’s reputation is already damaged because of his prior statements, and these negative comments do not cause him further suffering.
The New York Times is specifically not worried about a lawsuit because Trump has threatened to sue many other people and organizations without actually following through. He has threatened to sue The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today and the Village Voice. Out of the seven suits he has filed, he has only won one. He lost three, settled one, and withdrew one. The New York Times suggests that Trump try to prove his innocence rather than file a suit to get revenge.