A second White House official has resigned following a media investigation into allegations of domestic violence. As discussed yesterday the disconnect between Rod Porter claiming that the allegations were false but his subsequent failure to seek a legal remedy or even threaten a defamation action. David Sorensen, a speechwriter for President Trump, has raised a possible defamation action against his wife in denying the accusations. Indeed, he alleges that she was the abuser — creating a possibility of libel actions on both sides (much like the Roy Moore situation). President Donald Trump has responded to the two cases by decrying the impact of “mere allegations” in “shattering lives.”
It is like a broken record in politics. A powerful man is accused of a despicable and criminal act toward women. He emphatically denies the allegation and then . . . crickets. President Donald Trump cited Rod Porter’s claim of innocence and praised him and is now facing criticism over his failure to express concern for the women in the scandal.
In the meantime, Porter has not done the obvious thing if his two prior wives are indeed lying about his being a vile abuser of women . . . he has not threatened, let alone promised, a defamation action.
For those disappointed in Elon Musk selling out of his 50,000 flamethrowers, Amazon may have the answer. The company pulled the Salon Grade Hair Dryer after it was shown shooting flames. While it may make for a bad hair day, it is cheaper and smaller than Musk’s Boring Company Flamethrower.
The controversy surrounding porn star Stormy Daniels deepened yesterday. Stephanie Clifford (AKA Stormy Daniels) was reported to have finally and clearly denied that she had an affair with President Donald Trump. A statement was released under her signature with the help of counsel. However, in her interview with late night host Jimmy Kimmel, she seemed to suggest that it was not her signature. The coy denials and suggestions of Daniels in interviews is getting quite old. However, her interview left the impression that that someone faked her signature, a possible crime. In addition, if she did not have an affair with Trump, she could be liable for defamation but there are some interesting legal twists.
The personal lawyer of President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, reportedly threatened to sue a tabloid magazine if it published an interview with the former adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2011. Daniels told In Touch that she had an affair with Trump that started shortly after Melania Trump gave birth to her son Barron. The threat appeared to work and the story never ran. During the presidential campaign, Cohen used a fake name and shell company to give $130,000 to the porn star to deny any sexual relationship. The publication sets up an interesting legal question of whether Trump will sue as threatened and how this might play out under the standard set out in New York Times v. Sullivan. You have a porn star who does have two clearly opposing statements on the affairs as the main source for the article. However, a lawsuit would present risks that few lawyers would consider worth taking in a legal action.
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.”
Below is my column in USA Today on the last remaining promise for Roy Moore to fulfill from his campaign: his promised defamation lawsuit. Unless he and his lawyers were using the pledge to sue as a deflection from the merits of the allegations, it is time for Moore to make good on the promise and file. Of course, that will subject him to depositions and discovery but, if he is telling the truth, he has little to fear. In the meantime, I discussed how Gloria Allred suggested that her client will also sue for defamation. That would also be welcomed, though Allred will have to significantly improve her legal performance for an actual lawsuit as opposed to her disastrous press conference. Beverly Young Nelson has said that the lawsuit will definitely happen.
Here is the column: