Donald Trump Ordered to Pay The New York Times, Reporters $400K in Legal Fees

Former President Donald Trump has been directed by a New York State judge to pay The New York Times approximately $392,638.69 to cover legal fees stemming from a lawsuit he filed against the newspaper, as well as three of its reporters and his niece, Mary Trump.

In 2021, Trump initiated legal proceedings against The New York Times, alleging a conspiracy between the paper and Mary Trump to acquire and publish his tax records. However, in May 2023, New York Judge Robert Reed dismissed the lawsuit, citing First Amendment protection for the Times and its reporters, while ordering Trump to bear the legal expenses.

This Friday, Judge Reed determined the sum of $392,638.69 as a “reasonable value for the legal services rendered.” This decision took into account the intricacies of the case and the involvement of various attorneys. A partial aspect of the lawsuit against Mary Trump was permitted to proceed, although her request for legal fee reimbursement was rejected in June.

The lawsuit arose following The New York Times’ 2018 investigation by reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russell Buettner, which unveiled details from Trump’s tax filings that he had previously withheld, citing an ongoing audit. The investigation was later honored with a Pulitzer Prize.

A spokesperson for The New York Times commented on the recent development, stating, “Today’s decision shows that the state’s newly amended anti-SLAPP statute can be a powerful force for protecting press freedom.” The spokesperson referred to a law designed to deter frivolous defamation cases aimed at stifling defendants, emphasizing that the court’s decision sends a clear message against the misuse of the judicial system to silence journalists.

Trump’s $100 million lawsuit claimed that the reporters were aware of a settlement agreement preventing Mary Trump from disclosing specific documents. He asserted that The New York Times and its reporters engaged in an “insidious plot” to unlawfully obtain copies of his tax records from his niece.

A representative for Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney in the case, has not responded to requests for comment on the recent order. When Judge Reed dismissed the lawsuit last year, Habba emphasized the accountability of journalists, stating, “All journalists must be held accountable when they commit civil wrongs. The New York Times is no different, and its reporters went well beyond the conventional news gathering techniques permitted by the First Amendment.”

Susanne Craig, one of the reporters involved in the case, reiterated the importance of protecting reporters’ activities, saying, “Courts have long recognized that reporters are entitled to engage in legal and ordinary news-gathering activities without fear of tort liability — as these actions are at the very core of protected First Amendment activity.”

Information for this story was found via Yahoo News and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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