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Trump Again Suggests U.S. Libel Law Need To Change

08/01/2018

A view on the legal issues arising on Trump’s desire to shut down criticism and free speech.

JONATHAN TURLEY

Freedom_of_Speechdonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedWe previously discussed the erroneous portrayal of U.S. defamation laws by President Donald Trump.  Trump has complained previously about the inability to sue his critics due to the protections recognized in the First Amendment.  He has returned to that theme at Camp David this weekend and criticized our libel laws as too protective and restrictive. These comments were made in the wake of the failed effort of Trump to prevent the publication of the Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.  As discussed earlier, the threats made by Trump’s lawyer were facially weak, if not meritless, in claiming defamation. That was not a problem of our libel laws.  The statements by Steven Bannon leading to the notice letter were clearly opinions and protected under even the weakest defamation law.

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4 Comments
  1. Roj Blake permalink
    08/01/2018 13:55

    Yep, let’s see Trump change the libel laws to what he thinks they should be. It would be great fun watching Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Elizabeth Warner, Kim Jong Un, Chuck Schumer, Steve Bannon, Rosie O’Donnell, Jeff Sessions, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Native Americans, Mexicans, Mexico, Muslims, atheists, Chicago, New York, women all ling up to sue him.

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    • adamsmith1922 permalink*
      08/01/2018 15:35

      Suspect he thinks laws are only for his benefit.

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      • 08/01/2018 15:44

        True. The biggest worry for the Publisher will if/when the book is published in the UK as the libel laws there are very different. Of course, that would require Trump to appear in a court, under oath. They could sell tickets to that one!

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        • adamsmith1922 permalink*
          08/01/2018 15:50

          Plus the requirement for discovery.

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