Judge Dismisses Trump Lawsuit Against The New York Times

May 4, 2023

Justice Robert R. Reed of New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit brought by former President Trump against the New York Times.

Trump had filed the suit in 2021, accusing the newspaper and three of its reporters of conspiring in an “insidious plot” with his niece, Mary L. Trump, to improperly obtain his tax records, which the paper revealed in a series of articles in 2018.

In his ruling, Reed said Trump’s claims “fail as a matter of constitutional law.”

“Courts have long recognized that reporters are entitled to engage in legal and ordinary news-gathering activities without fear of tort liability—as these actions are at the very core of protected first amendment activity,” the Justice wrote.

Reed further ordered Trump to pay legal expenses and other costs accumulated by The Times and its reporters, Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russ Buettner.

“The New York Times is pleased with the judge’s decision today,” said spokesperson Charlie Stadtlander. “It is an important precedent reaffirming that the press is protected when it engages in routine news gathering to obtain information of vital importance to the public.”

Trump attorney Alina Habba said that “we will weigh our client’s options and continue to vigorously fight on his behalf.”

She did not go so far as to say the Trump team would appeal Reed’s ruling. 

The dismissal of Trump’s lawsuit against the New York Times comes just over three weeks after Fox News settled a defamation suit brought by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million over the network’s claims of fraud during the 2020 election.

Fox is still facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from another voting tech company, Smartmatic. 

Reed’s decision Wednesday was at least the second time that a lawsuit brought by Trump against The Times had been dismissed. In 2021, a 2020 libel suit was dismissed that had been brought by Trump’s reelection campaign against the paper’s Opinion section for publishing a guest essay called, “The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo.”

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