Below is my column in USA Today on the renewed calls of President Donald Trump to change our libel laws to make it easier for public officials and figures to sue over publications like the recent book by Michael Wolff. While the controversy was quickly pushed from coverage by the President’s alarming statements on immigration policy, it is clear that he remains heavily invested in this ill-considered idea.
We have been discussing the outrageous acts of Simon Bramhall, 53, who branded with his initials on the livers of patients. In a clearly insufficient sentence, Bramhall has received no jail time and simply a 12-month community order and fined £10,000. He was allowed to plead guilty in the Birmingham Crown Court to two counts of assault by beating.
Since the first allegations (and denials) in the Roy Moore allegations surfaced, I have speculated on when either Moore or one of the women would sue. As I discussed recently, Moore had promised to sue for defamation but he thus far failed to keep that promise. Similarly, Gloria Allred has been blustering about lawsuits without filing on behalf of her clients. Now, however, one of the women has sued and we may be able to get some answers under oath for the first time in the scandal. Leigh Corfman accused Moore of molesting her when she was 14 and he was in his 30s. She has now filed in court. The only thing that has been abundantly clear in this controversy is someone is lying. It is time to try to find out who that is.
Attorney Charles Harder has issued a “cease and desist” letter on behalf of his client President Donald Trump. The letter is addressed to author Michael Wolff and the president of the book’s publisher, but is clearly putting Steve Bannon on notice of a possible defamation action for his statements in the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.” The letter alleges violation of confidentiality rules and defamation in the forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff. The threat of legal action is highly dubious and the suggestion of a prior restraint order or injunction would go against decades of precedent. It also leaves the worst possible optics of trying to stop the release of a book (and suggesting that Bannon is releasing bona fide confidential information).
Mariana Flores, a sophomore at the University of California-San Diego, has a curious concept of not just tort liability but personal responsibility. She is suing UCSD for being hit by a car on the highway. However, she was taking part in a protest illegally blocking the highway at the time. She is suing the University of California Regents, the city and county of San Diego, the state of California, and the driver of the car.
Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on an annual list of Christmas torts and mishaps. Santas feature prominently this year.
CNN guest commentator Hilary Rosen has long been something of a live wire on television as when she attacked the wife of Mitt Romney — comments that David Axelrod called “offensive” and President Obama apologized for during the campaign. She has been criticized for her sometimes no-holds-barred approach to advocacy for Democrats. We had such an exchange on NPR where she was quick to take offense as a lesbian to a discussion on Hillary Clinton’s record. She is again in the midst of a controversy and could well be sued for defamation (though I think such a lawsuit would be unwarranted). Rosen (who is Jewish) went on social media to condemn Georgetown student Michael Bakan as an anti-Semitic after he appears in a bacon outfit in this picture. She appears to have missed the fact that his name resembles (and is pronounced) “Bacon.”