Donald Trump WINS Defamation Lawsuit Over Tweets

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Donald Trump says he wants to “open up” libel laws, but a few days before he becomes the next Presi­dent of the United States, he became fortu­nate that such laws place high burdens on plain­tiffs. A New York Supre­me Court judge on Tuesday agreed to dismiss a defama­tion suit brought by Cheryl Jacobus, a polit­i­cal strate­gist who, Trump tweet­ed, had “begged” him for a job and went “hostile” when she was turned down.

Jacobus sued Trump and his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski over comments made in the midst of a heated Repub­li­can prima­ry. Seeking $4 million in damages, she alleged in her complaint that the Trump campaign tried to recruit her in May 2015, even attempt­ing to entice her with the prospect of a post-campaign job at Fox News. She says Lewandowski told her that Trump was very close to Roger Ailes. She further claimed of coming to the judgment that working for Trump was unten­able because Lewandowski was a “powder keg.”

In January 2016, she appeared on CNN to discuss Trump’s decision to skip a prima­ry debate on Fox News and opined that Trump was “using the Megyn Kelly manufac­tured kerfuf­fle as an excuse.” A few days later, she returned to Don Lemon’s show and was dubious about Trump’s claims of self-funding his campaign.

This may have set Trump off. In one tweet, he wrote how he “turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credi­bil­i­ty.”

In respon­se to the defama­tion lawsuit, Trump moved to dismiss on the basis that the state­ments were “pure opinion,” not suscep­ti­ble to any defam­a­to­ry meaning because they couldn’t be proved true or . His attor­ney also point­ed the judge’s atten­tion to the hyper­bol­ic nature of Twitter, and wrote that when plain­tiffs like Jacobus have access to the media, they face higher burdens because of their oppor­tu­ni­ty to rebut points.

This led to a notewor­thy hearing in October where the judge heard Trump’s attor­ney, Lawrence Rosen, say that “percep­tion is reali­ty” and the plaintiff’s attor­ney, Jay Butter­man, nod to Nazi Germany with a warning that the rights of individ­u­als could be trampled upon just for voicing some criti­cism of someone in power.

Today, New York judge Barbara Jaffe released her decision grant­i­ng Trump’s motion to dismiss.

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