New York Times dares Trump to sue for libel over story he groped, sexually assaulted women

Paper rejects Trump demand to remove, retract and apologise for the story

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 October, 2016, 3:51am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 October, 2016, 3:51am

An attorney for The New York Times has rejected a demand from a law firm representing Donald Trump to remove and retract a story about women who claimed the Republican presidential nominee had engaged in sexual misconduct with them.

Trump’s attorneys claimed the newspaper committed libel when it published a report Wednesday that quoted two women who said that Trump had groped them, and Trump publicly vowed to sue the newspaper.

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“You ask that we ‘remove it from (our) website, and issue a full and immediate retraction and apology,’” David E. McCraw, the newspaper’s lawyer, responded Thursday. “We decline to do so.”

McCraw all but dared Trump to sue the paper, writing that the newspaper welcomes “the opportunity to have a court set him straight” about libel law.

McCraw denied that the paper had committed libel, noting that “the essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation.”

“Mr. Trump has bragged about his nonconsensual sexual touching of women” and he has “acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a ‘piece of ass,’” he wrote, alluding to a 2005 tape of Trump making lewd comments about women and his past appearances on the “Howard Stern Show,” in which he has talked about his daughter Ivanka.

Moreover, McCraw wrote that the two women quoted in the front-page article “spoke out on an issue of national importance” because of the presidential election.

Jessica Leeds, 74, told the newspaper that Trump had grabbed her breasts and tried to slip his hand up her skirt as they sat in the first-class cabin of a plane more than three decades ago.

“He was like an octopus,” Leeds told the paper. “His hands were everywhere.”

Rachel Crooks told the Times that Trump abruptly kissed her on the mouth when she introduced herself to him in front of an elevator in 2005 while she was working as a 22-year-old secretary in Trump Tower in New York.

In a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump angrily denied the women’s claims and blamed his rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, for the story.

“These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false,” Trump said. “And the Clintons know it, and they know it very well. These claims are all fabricated. They’re pure fiction, and they’re outright lies.”