Gloves off as New York Times defends First Amendment rights.
Donald Trump seems to be a straight-talking chap, so we’re sure he might even admire the response of the New York Times to his request for an apology.
The newspaper yesterday published its response to Trump’s demand after it ran an article alleging he had inappropriately touched two women.
The letter, signed by lawyer David E. McCraw, is in the tradition of the defendant's response in Arkell v Pressdram (1971), though as you would expect from the Gray Lady, more delicately phrased.
‘You ask that we remove it from [our] website, and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology. We decline to do so,’ it opens, continuing with a message that can be encapsulated as: ‘bring it on’.
The response acknowledges that a libel case would involve the protection of one’s reputation, but notes: ‘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.’
The paper says the women quoted in its story spoke out on an issue of national importance that Trump himself had discussed with during Sunday’s presidential debate.
‘We did what the law allows: we published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what those women have to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticise him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.’
Obiter thinks Trump should probably take that as a resounding ‘no’.