New York Times in killer response to Trump legal threat

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By Thomas Connelly on

Newspaper published an article suggesting the Republican had touched two women inappropriately

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A legal letter penned by The New York Times’ lawyer David McCraw to Donald Trump’s legal team has taken the internet by storm.

The two-page letter is a response to a legal threat received by the newspaper from Trump’s lawyer last week. The Republican presidential candidate was unhappy about a profile of two women, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks, who claim he touched them “inappropriately”.

Trump’s lawyer — Marc Kasowitz, who is described on his firm’s site as the “toughest lawyer on Wall Street” — sent a letter to the newspaper on behalf of his client, stating the article was “defamatory” and should be removed immediately.

McCraw, who is assistant general counsel at The New York Times, responded to Trump’s threat in epic fashion.

In a letter to Kasowitz, McCraw — who spent a year as an associate at the New York office of Clifford Chance — quickly pointed out that “the essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation”. He added:

Mr Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr Trump’s own daughter as a ‘piece of ass.’ Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr Trump’s unwanted advances. 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.

Continuing to lay the legal smackdown, McGraw suggested that if “Trump disagrees” and “believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say” then The New York Times welcomes the “opportunity to have a court set him straight”.

Astonishingly, McGraw — who has been at the newspaper for over 14 years — claims the letter took just 45 minutes to write.

Read the letter in full here: