Corey Lewandowski Threatens To Sue New York Magazine Over Reported Unlawful Entry By Reporter Olivia Nuzzi [Updated]

imagesFormer Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has, through counsel, sent a intent to sue letter to New York Magazine over an alleged home invasion by reporter Olivia Nuzzi.  Nuzzi in March admitted that she entered his home without permission — an act that certainly would be a crime as well as a tort. Update:  There is an interesting twist (and potential defense) to the potential criminal or tort case involving the “home” of Lewandowski, which also happens to be the office of Turnberry Solutions, a lobbying firm started a close Trump campaign associate. 

Nuzzi said that she was doing a story on former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and entered the home after knocking for ten minutes. She recounted to the Columbia Journalism Review: “I tried to knock on the basement door, but the gate wasn’t open. Then I walked up the steps to the main door and knocked for, like, 10 minutes. And I’m knocking, knocking, nobody’s answering. But after a while, I just touched the door knob, and the door was open. I walked in and I’m in the house, by myself.” It was an incredible decision and she admits to talking a picture inside the house of a wall with a scroll reading “The wilderness shall blossom as the rose.”

 In her story for New York Magazine, Olivia Nuzzi describes the ornate wall hanging found just inside the townhome where Corey Lewandowski lives. In an interview with Columbia Journalism Review, Nuzzi cops to taking a picture of it upon entering the building by herself 

On Thursday, Corey Lewandowski tweeted a Fox News story about Olivia Nuzzi admitting that she entered his residence adding, 'I haven’t seen my photo album that was in the foyer prior to this incident. Wonder where it could be?' 

Courts have previously held that reporters do not have any special privilege to commit trespass and may be sued for such offenses.  In Food Lion v. ABC , a store was shown in an undercover segment engaging in unsanitary techniques and accused Food Lion of selling rat-gnawed cheese, meat that was past its expiration date and old fish and ham that had been washed in bleach to kill the smell. Food lion denied the allegations and sued ABC for trespass. A jury ruled against ABC and awarded Food Lion punitive damages for the investigation involving ABC journalists lying on their application forms and assumed positions under false pretenses. (here). The Fourth Circuit however wiped out the punitive damage award while upholding the verdicts of trespass and breach of loyalty with awards of only $1 for each.

There is also a case out of the Seventh Circuit. Judge Richard Posner wrote the decision in Desnick v. ABC where investigative reporters went undercover in 1993 to show that employees of the Desnick eye clinic had tampered with the clinic’s auto-refractor, the machine used to detect cataracts so that the machine produced false diagnoses to find cataracts (and require procedures). The court rejected wiretapping claims (based on the state’s one-party consent rules) as well as trespass and defamation claims. On trespass, the court noted that the reporters were allowed into areas open to new patients. Posner relied on the consent to the entry to negate the trespass claim even when the entrant “has intentions that if known to the owner of the property would cause him . . . to revoke his consent.”

The fact that this was a property shared with a business does raise a Desnick-like distinction. Unlike the meat area behind the deli that was closed off to the public in Food Lion, Nuzzi could claim that this was an area where visitors would customarily be allowed access by the firm.

The townhouse in this case was located in D.C. where such unlawful entry is treated as a misdemeanor (absent any theft claim):

The DC Code: § 22-3302 Unlawful entry on property.

Index → 22 Criminal Offenses and Penalties. (Refs & Annos)

(1) Any person who, without lawful authority, shall enter, or attempt to enter, any private dwelling, building, or other property, or part of such dwelling, building, or other property, against the will of the lawful occupant or of the person lawfully in charge thereof, or being therein or thereon, without lawful authority to remain therein or thereon shall refuse to quit the same on the demand of the lawful occupant, or of the person lawfully in charge thereof, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both. The presence of a person in any private dwelling, building, or other property that is otherwise vacant and boarded-up or otherwise secured in a manner that conveys that it is vacant and not to be entered, or displays a no trespassing sign, shall be prima facie evidence that any person found in such property has entered against the will of the person in legal possession of the property.

It can also be the basis for a civil lawsuit alleging trespass as well as “intrusion upon seclusion.”

Any viable criminal or civil defenses for both Nuzzi and her employer (which could be held accountable under principles of respondeat superior) could well depend on the status of the building as a home or a business.  Working against Nuzzi is the fact that she was not granted access after knocking for ten minutes.  Yet, there is a glimmer of a defense in the multipurpose dwelling.

126 thoughts on “Corey Lewandowski Threatens To Sue New York Magazine Over Reported Unlawful Entry By Reporter Olivia Nuzzi [Updated]”

    1. Mike A:
      I wouldn’t sue her civilly. I’d just swear out a warrant for trespass and invasion of privacy (intrusion on solitude). Money doesn’t hurt her; a conviction hurts her and that rag. And maybe some time in the pokey for her sans makeup. That’s a pleasant outcome..

      1. What would hurt her would be strokes of the birch, strokes of the rattan cane, or time in the pillory-and-stocks. Pity that’s not in the DC code.

      2. But, but how do we make any money if juicy tort cases are simply tossed into the misdemeanor mill? 🙂

        1. Mike A – just because its a misdemeanor does not mean you do not have a juicy tort case. 😉

          1. mespo – can’t you plead ‘no contest’ which is treated as a guilty plea in the criminal court but not in the civil court? 😉

          2. Mark,

            I made the ragù recipe you gave me a week ago. Savory and quite delicious. I haven’t had tenderloin or ragù in decades yet I can foresee my breaking my diet on occasion.

            Thanks for the suggestion.

            1. So good. I have it on good authority that they bring it to you in Heaven while you dine al fresco overlooking Lake Como.

  1. I came here this morning with the expectation that Professor Turley would be covering Rudolph Giuliani’s interviews in ‘defense’ of Trump. How disappointed I am!

    Perhaps the professor was simply too busy to deal with that column today. So now us ‘liberals’ are expected to stick up for a rogue reporter who sneaks into houses. I’ll decline that task.

    1. “So now us is expected…” to discover that NDAs are ubiquitous and irrefutably legal. Here again, much ado about nothing. At worst, a “white lie” to preclude personal embarrassment.

      Furthermore, if a separate NDA is a campaign expenditure to make a candidate “look good” then the price of a haircut is also a campaign expenditure to make a candidate “look good.” How many candidates have paid for haircuts? A whole lot of elections are going to be nullified.

  2. Why not? What makes the magazine (some local rag I presume?) and the reporter special. Burglary and theft combined are felonies and in no way fit the description of free speech. Just another felon awaiting trial.

  3. Dictatorship of Relativism reigns.

    There are no laws, no ethics (nod to James Comey), no societal norms…it is all flush with rage, hystrionics (CNN, NYT, Wa “Demukrasy dyes in darkness” Poop, et al). As long as Americans are flush with cash and a WiFi hookup, life is gud.


    oh, she did hurl an expletive to make it all scintillating. No pics of her boobs though. Ask Anthony Weiner ?

  4. Really, what journalist does not know that you cannot enter the home of a person without permission?

    In the old days I’d say “none.” But in these curious times, my answer is: an entitled, thinks-she’s-pretty, foul-mouthed millennial with dreams of Woodward and Bernstein dancing in that vacuous head.

    Oh, by the way condolences to her “boyfriend.”

    1. She’s 25, handsome (though not to my taste), dyes her hair blonde. Evidently a satisfactory student (attended Fordham), but not focused enough to finish a degree. Comes from a blue-collar wage-earner family. I’d wager she’s skated many times in her life due to the girls’ discount.

    2. Worthless and Bull—-! The true journalist in Watergate was Mark Felt.

  5. But after a while, I just touched the door knob, and the door was open.

    What an idiot. At least lie and say you were leaving your card on the door and it swung open. But to admit she used the doorknob, shows intent to at least open the door. Naturally if the door is open, then she felt welcomed into the home. She’s clearly not a vampire; maybe she fancies herself Goldilocks.

  6. Kind of stupid to b&e a second amendment household it could have ended very badly for the criminal airhead.

  7. Imagine the outrage from lefty media if a Fox News reporter entered and too photo inside the residence of former HRC campaign adviser Robby Mook.

  8. What would amuse me is to add an addendum to penal code provisions on assault: it’s an affirmative defense that the ‘victim’ is a reporter, a technical assistant to a reporter, or an editor.

  9. Criminal trespass in New York, which is generally a misdemeanor if you’re not in a residence and not armed. The judiciary has rigged the game for more than 50 years to protect reporters, who, in a just society, would be treated far more harshly in court than they currently are. See the Zimmerman case, where it was ruled he had no case against an NBC affiliate which had undertaken a gross and deliberate act to defame him in the worst possible circumstances. We’re there justice, he’d own that broadcast license.

  10. Come now gentle”people” she had no intent, do any of the mean street media have?

  11. Punitive damages of $1 ? Perhaps if a reporter, entering a domicile, uninvited, was greeted by a Zimmerman, it would serve as a deterrent.

    1. Yet if were a house belonging to a Socialist Progresslive Liberal would there not be six zeros added. Phony.

      1. I post a comment illustrating how stupid the reporter is and how ‘they’ should not be allowed to get away with it and you immediately go right wing alt. Hoisted so many times on your own petard, MA. Is it Knee Jerk Alt Right Syndrome? KJARS

    1. David Benson – if I crash my car into your house, that is a tort, without a crime, assuming I did not do it on purpose. 😉

      1. Hey Bullwinkle, “Mr. Know It All” appears lacking.

        He’s a genius!

    1. In America, when America was America, we left all the doors and windows open on our house, drove to the market, left the doors and windows open on the car and left the keys in it. Seriously. In Southern California. Of course there were, shall we say, “restrictions” in those days. There was a certain, shall we say, “homogeneity” in America.

  12. The mere fact that she took a picture and that the photo album is missing shows intent, although I know you are using sarcasm, George. 😉

  13. If there is probable cause to arrest for burglary or at least unlawful entry, her alleged conduct merits an arrest.

    1. Probable Cause is she confessed oipenly and publicly to commiting the crime and the steps leading from the unlawful entry (burglary) to a search of the premises (intent) to taking an item or items is theft.

      Three elements all satisfied. Why she isn’t ihandcuffed since this first came out is a tribute to the machine that runs NYC. and another reason not to vote progressive socialist.

Comments are closed.