'Libel Bully' Report on Trump Is Maybe a Bit Too Convincing

ABA decides not to publish it, fearing a lawsuit
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2016 7:21 AM CDT
'Libel Bully' Report on Trump Is Maybe a Bit Too Convincing
Donald Trump looks at the crowd as he arrives to speak to a campaign rally Monday in Tampa, Fla.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

"It is more than a little ironic," one lawyer involved tells the New York Times. He's got a point: The irony refers to a decision by the American Bar Association not to publish a report concluding that Donald Trump is a "libel bully." Higher-ups at the ABA balked in part because they figured Trump would sue given that he is, well, what the report said. As the Times explains, the ABA commissioned a group of media-law attorneys to examine Trump's track record of filing lawsuits against his public critics. The report's opening line: "Donald J. Trump is a libel bully. Like most bullies, he's also a loser, to borrow from Trump's vocabulary." (While the ABA did not publish the report, it's now posted at the Media Law Resource Center.)

It goes on say that while Trump has been involved in a "mind-boggling 4,000 lawsuits" and "countless" cease-and-desist letters, he has "never won a single speech-related case filed in a public court." One of the examples it cites is Trump's suit against Bill Maher after Maher challenged Trump to produce his birth certificate to prove he was not the son of an orangutan, notes Mediaite. That "frivolous" lawsuit was withdrawn, say the authors. Based on internal emails, the ABA felt the language in the report was too "partisan" in regard to Trump and wanted it toned down. For example, it suggested changing the title from "Donald J. Trump Is a Libel Bully but Also a Libel Loser" to "Presidential Election Demonstrates Need for Anti-Slapp Laws." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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