A New York judge has tossed out Donald Trump’s lawsuit against The New York Times, and ordered the former president to pay all attorneys fees, legal expenses, and associated costs.
Trump filed the lawsuit in 2021, alleging that the newspaper, three of its reporters and his niece Mary Trump engaged in an “insidious plot” to obtain his private records for a Pulitzer-winning story about his tax issues.
While the court tossed out Trump’s claims against the newspaper and its reporters, the claims against the ex-president’s niece have yet to be ruled upon.
“The New York Times is pleased with the judge’s decision today,” a paper spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Daily Beast. “It is an important precedent reaffirming that the press is protected when it engages in routine newsgathering to obtain information of vital importance to the public.”
The twice-impeached former president’s claims against the defendants “fail as a matter of constitutional law,” New York Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Reed wrote in his ruling filed on Wednesday afternoon, deeming the paper’s newsgathering as being at “the very core of protected First Amendment activity.”
Reed further ruled that Trump failed to demonstrate any tortious interference when Times journalist Susanne Craig provided his niece with a burner phone to communicate about the records. Furthermore, the judge said the ex-president failed to prove unjust enrichment or negligent supervision on the parts of the Times or reporters Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner
In the original lawsuit Trump alleged that the Times colluded with his niece to “smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over ” to the paper despite a confidentiality agreement she signed in 2001 during a family dispute. He further claimed that Craig, Barstow, and Buettner were “motivated, at least in part, by their actual malice” in reporting on the details within tax returns he’d refused to disclose.
After her uncle initially filed his lawsuit in September 2021, Mary Trump told The Daily Beast: “I think he is a fucking loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can. It’s desperation. The walls are closing in and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.”