This Trump legal maneuver will fail

One of the methods used by wealthy people and businesses to intimidate people and prevent them from taking action against them is to threaten them with legal action. Even if you, as an individual, are completely in the right and they are completely in the wrong, you will encounter a lot of up front costs and hassle in pressing your case, because the high-priced lawyers on the other side will make things as hard as possible for you. People like Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein use this tactic repeatedly and, sadly, it usually works to silence critics.

Where it does not work so well is when they have an opponent who also has deep pockets and lawyers at their ready disposal, and this is what Trump has run up against. His lawyer Charles Harder has threatened author Michael Wolff and his publisher with legal action demanding an apology and for Wolff’s book to be withdrawn or to face action for defamation.

But major book publishers are used to this kind of threat and in this case Elizabeth McNamara, the lawyer for the publisher Henry Holt, knows that Trump is on weak legal footing and her response was blistering.

One odd claim that Trump’s lawyer made was that Steve Bannon was breaching a confidentiality agreement by speaking with Wolff. But McNamara pointed out that it is not their business to police Bannon’s behavior if he wants to freely talk to reporters, and that is an issue for them to take up with Bannon directly.

McNamara’s letter ends up with a not-so-veiled threat of its own, that if Trump proceeds with this lawsuit, that they will demand access to business and personal documents of Trump, his family, his businesses, and campaign that pertain in any way to anything the book writes about. This is something that Trump will avoid at all costs and I fully expect Trump to not pursue this threat but instead simply continue blustering.


  1. Mano Singham says


    I was not aware of this case. Thanks for letting me know. It was a fascinating read and the two people who took on McDonalds are truly admirable.

  2. jrkrideau says


    The Streisand Effect in action, followed by a lovely Arkell vs Pressdram defence.

    My clients do not intend to cease publication, so such retraction will occur, and no apology is warranted.

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