“I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. We’re going to open up libel laws, and we’re going to have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.”—Donald Trump on February 26, 2016 promising to do whatever he can to undermine the 1st amendment to the constitution.
By Nate Thayer
February 26, 2016
Donald Trump said today , if he is elected president, he would change the laws enshrined in the constitution and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court to gag Free Speech and the Free Press.
Make no mistake: Trump is trying to stifle public debate and criticism of his business, personal life, and often false and incendiary conduct and public comments.
Let’s cut to the chase: Donald Trump is Un American.
This is nothing new for Donald Trump. For decades, Trump has tried to abuse the U.S. judicial system by using the power of his inherited wealth to ruin the lives of anyone who disagrees with him. Using his money and teams of lawyers, he has used the rule of law to bully and intimidate those who don’t frog-march to his own fictional narrative of himself.
Who can afford to seek justice through the courts by daring to speak the truth in the face of teams of $400 an-hour New York lawyers?
Donald Trump has been involved in at Least 169 Federal Lawsuits since 1983, according to Dan Abams of LawNewz. This does not include numerous other legal actions Trump has taken in state courts.
Trump has sued his ex-wives, his workers, online bloggers, journalists, newspapers, business partners, a Native American Indian tribe, celebrity chefs, a small businessperson of a Georgia business card store, a Miss America contestant from Pennsylvania, the creator of the Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, comedians, political rivals, cities, counties, states, and sovereign countries.
To be fair, Trump has been sued by celebrities, personal assistants, prisoners, mental hospital patients, unions, wealthy businessmen, business partners and competitors.
Here is a very limited list of some of those Trump has sued recently:
* In 2015, Trump sued chef Jose Andres for $10 million, after Andres pulled out of opening his restaurant in a Washington, D.C. Trump hotel after Trump said Mexican immigrants bring drugs, crime, and were rapists. Andres then cut ties with Trump and Trump sued him.
* In 2015, Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against the Spanish-language network, Univision, for deciding against broadcasting the Miss USA pageant. Univision made the decision after Trump made the above remarks about Mexican’s in the U.S. Trump is suing Univision for defamation. The legal blog, Popehat, wrote “As befits Trump, the claim is loud, vulgar, and stupid.”
* TV personality Rosie O’Donnell called Trump a “snake-oil salesman” and Trump called her “disgusting both inside and out” and threatened to sue her in numerous very public comments in an escalating feud. “Rosie will rue the words she said. I’ll most likely sue her for making those false statements—and it’ll be fun. Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.”
* In 2012, Miss USA contestant Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin claimed on her Facebook page that the Miss USA pageant was “fraudulent” and “rigged.” Trump sued her for defamation saying he lost $5 million. Trump said she was “a beautiful young woman who had sour grapes because she wasn’t a top-15 finalist,” wrote The Atlantic. Five months later, she was ordered to pay Trump $5 million in damages.
* In 2013, Trump filed a $5 million lawsuit against Comedian Bill Maher. Trump had said President Obama’s birth certificate was fake and the president was a Kenyan born Muslim, and he would donate $5 million to charity if the president would release the documents (which had already been released). Maher joked that he’d give $5 million to Trump if he could prove that Trump was not “the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Trump sent Maher a copy of his birth certificate showing his father was not a monkey. Trump sued Maher for $5 million after Maher didn’t hand Trump $5 million.
*Trump threatened to sue a songwriter, Mac Miller, for using Trump’s name in a 2011 song titled “Donald Trump”. Miller sent Trump a plaque after it became a hit. Trump demanded Miller send him money instead of a plaque, and said he would teach Miller “a big boy lesson about lawsuits and finance, you ungrateful dog!”
* In 2014, Trump sued himself, saying the Trump Entertainment Resorts, which he was a minority owner, was making his own name look bad because it had gone bankrupt. Trump later dropped the suit against himself in 2015.
* In 2013 Trump sued New Yorker Angelo Carusone who started an online petition “Dump Trump” calling for Macy’s department store to end their partnership with Trump, who had been hired as a spokesman. After the online campaign garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures, Trump sued Carusone saying he used “mob-like bullying and coercion” instead of “lawful protest.”
* In 2015, Trump sued two Las Vegas hotel worker’s unions because Trump said they had lied about where Trump slept while in Vegas during a campaign stop. Trump’s federal lawsuit against the Culinary Workers Union and Bartenders Union on Oct. 14 alleged the unions distributed a flyer reading “when Donald Trump stays in Las Vegas, he stays at a union hotel.” Trump’s suit said he slept at his own Trump Hotel—which is not union.
* In the 1980s, Trump sued two businessmen who had the same last name of “Trump”. Julius and Edmond Trump, who called their business “The Trump Group” were in the drug store business. Donald Trump found out after a letter meant for the brothers was delivered to him. Trump’s lawyer was Roy Cohn, the infamous chief council of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee, which ruined the lives of hundreds in the 1950’s by falsely accusing them of being communists. “The defendants are South Africans whose recent entrance in the New York area utilizing the name ‘the Trump Group’ can only be viewed as a poorly veiled attempt at trading on the goodwill, reputation and financial credibility” of Donald Trump, wrote Roy Cohn on behalf of Trump. “Plaintiffs have used the Trump family name for 40 to 50 years in the New York area. More recently, the Trump Organization has come to stand for respectability and success across the United States.” After five years of litigation, the court threw out Trump’s lawsuit.
* In 2003, Trump’s son, Donald Junior, was assaulted at a New York comedy club and Trump threatened to sue the two men, Anthony Pozzolano and Joseph Derrico. “Donald is soft-spoken and wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Trump senior said of Trump juniors’.
* Trump sued his ex-wife in the 1990’s. In 1992, Trump accused ex-wife, Ivana, of fraud and “willful, deliberate and surreptitious disclosure” for talking about their relationship.* In 2003, Trump sued the Eastern Pequots, a Connecticut Native American tribe of less than 1,000. Trump alleged he spent $10 million to promote the tribe’s brand in exchange for the right to negotiate the tribe’s casino agreements. The Native Americans dumped Trump and Trump retaliated.
* In 2015, Trump sued Palm Beach County, Florida. He has sued the county 3 times. Trump sued Palm Beach County, Florida, the county airport and airport director Bruce Pelly for $100 million in an effort to stop planes from flying over his mansion. “Pelly’s efforts in this regard are both deliberate and malicious, and motivated by personal animosity towards Donald Trump.” The lawsuit is pending. Palm Beach County estimates that legal fights with Trump related to the airport have cost taxpayers at least $600,000. Another $25 million lawsuit against Palm Beach alleged the town had forbidden him from flying an extremely large American flag. “The town council of Palm Beach should be ashamed of itself. They’re fining me for putting up the American flag. This is probably a first in United States history,” he told Politico.
* In 2011, Trump sued Scotland. Trump claimed the country had promised a wind farm would not be built near his resort golf course and hotel. He lost.
* In 1997, Trump sued New Jersey. Trump objected to casino mogul Steve Wynn from building a $330 million tunnel leading to Wynn’s resort. The Newark Star-Ledger Trump claimed that if the state used casino funds to support the tunnel, it would be “ ’taking money from widows and orphans,’ the elderly, and people with disabilities.”
* In 2002, Trump sued New York City for $500 million claiming high taxes had cost him money and forced him to sell his apartments too cheaply.
*In 1995, Trump sued New York State. He said the video game, Quickdraw, would bring “tremendous amounts of crime” and “destroy businesses in New York,” and result in gambling addictions which would make it hard for tenants to pay their rent. The video game, similar to Keno which Trump used in his Atlantic City Casinos, had been made legal by New York State to be used in restaurants and bars. Analysts suspect Trump was most concerned with the business competition to his casino gambling.
* In the 1980’s, Trump said he was building a high-rise in New York that would be taller than the Chicago Sears Tower. The Chicago Tribune suggested that might not be true. Trump sued the newspaper for $500 million. The Chicago paper’s architecture critic wrote predicting the Chicago’s Sears Tower would remain the world’s tallest building. In his lawsuit, Trump said the article “virtually torpedoed” his business, saying the article suggested his New York building plans would be “an atrocious, ugly monstrosity”, according to the AP.
* In 2008, Trump sued Deutsche Bank who financed one of his Chicago hotel developments. Trump had personally guaranteed $40 million of Deutsche Bank’s $640 million construction loan, but when the money came due in November 2008, Trump asked for an extension, citing the recession. His request was refused. Trump then sued Deutsche Bank for “predatory lending practices” and blamed them for causing the financial crisis—and asked for $3 billion in damages. The bank countersued Trump for the $40 million Trump owed them. They settled out of court and, in August 2010, the loan was extended for five years.
* In 2015, Trump threatened to sue the conservative organization, Club for Growth, for a TV advert saying Trump supported higher taxes. “Which presidential candidate supports higher taxes, national health care, and the Wall Street bailout?” the ad says. “It’s Donald Trump.” Trump lawyer Alan Garten wrote a legal cease and desist letter to the Club for Growth. “Simply stated, your Attack Ad is not only completely disingenuous, but replete with outright lies, false, defamatory and destructive statements and downright fabrications which you fully know to be untrue, thereby exposing you and your so-called “club” to liability for damages and other tortious harm. For example, while your Attack Ad blatantly misrepresents to the public that Mr. Trump ‘supports higher taxes’, nothing could be further from the truth. To be clear, Mr. Trump’s tax plan, which is scheduled to be released later this week, supports a lowering of taxes. Mr. Trump does not support higher taxes. This is the very definition of libel.”
The Federalist, a strictly conservative publication pointed out that Trump, in fact, repeatedly has been on the record supporting tax increases. In an article titled “Donald Trump: It’s Libel To Quote Dumb Ideas I’ve Repeatedly Proposed” wrote that “If Donald Trump doesn’t want to be accused of supporting higher taxes, there are simpler ways to go about it than having an attorney send silly letters suggesting it’s libelous to highlight an individual’s own statements and record. The simplest way to avoid being accused of supporting higher taxes is to not support higher taxes.”
* In 2005, Trump threatened to sue ABC television when he learned they were working on a biography of his life. Trump said he would “definitely sue” if the film was “inaccurate,” according to The Washington Post, but “as long as it’s accurate, I won’t be suing them.” The show never happened.
* In 2013, Trump filed a defamation suit against former students of “Trump University” who charged Trump’s online “university” engaged in deceptive business practices. Tarla Makaeff, of San Diego, filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging that Trump University failed to deliver on its promised education that cost her almost $35,000. She eventually won.
* In 2006, Trump sued journalist, Timothy O’Brien, the author of the book TrumpNation: “The Art of Being the Donald,” for $5 billion (with a ‘B’) for reporting his net worth as lower than what Trump wanted people to think it was. O’Brien wrote that Trump’s net worth was somewhere between $150 and $250 million, though Trump claimed it was $5 or $6 billion. Trump said O’Brien hurt his reputation. The suit was dismissed in 2009, after the judge concluded O’Brien did not defame Trump. In 2011, Trump lost an appeal.
“I sympathize with attorney Jeffrey L. Goldman. Being Donald Trump’s lawyer must be as tiresome, grotesque and demeaning as being his inadequately-supplied anus bleacher,” wrote Ken White on the legal blog Popehat. “But no matter how freakishly swollen a client’s ego, an ethical lawyer is supposed to refrain from filing vexatious publicity-seeking claims. Goldman failed at that ethical obligation. Shame on him. And Trump? The man clearly lacks the capacity for shame.”
“One thing I’ve learned about the press is that they’re always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better. It’s in the nature of the job, and I understand that. The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you,” Trump writes in his book “The Art of the Deal”. “I’ve always done things a little differently.”
In 2014, Trump told Fox News that the media were “really dishonest people” and called on “reinstat(ing) libel laws.” “You know, we should reinstate libel laws, so that you can go after people nowadays when they make really egregious statements. But, unfortunately, the libel laws in this country are ridiculous.”
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The First Amendment does not read that these principles apply only to powerful, rich people who can use the judicial system to intimidate the less powerful from exercising those rights.
This is the cynical, venomous, and long-effective tactic of the super-rich and corporate elite: bankrupt the powerless or less wealthy who try to seek redress from the powerful using intimidation and threatening bankruptcy by abusing the judicial system.
The very essence of rule of law is equal access to justice, free speech, and the ability to confront the moneyed and politically powerful to prevent their abuse of the common man.
Donald Trump’s signature approach to life, business, and anyone who dares disagree with his bloviating fictional version of truth is to attempt to bully the U.S. Constitution into submission.
Let’s be frank: Trump is Anti-American.