American Bar Association report on "libel bully" Donald Trump gets snuffed -- for fear of libel suit

As Trump stifles a report about his suits, the First Amendment is collapsing under the weight of all the irony

Published October 25, 2016 3:00PM (EDT)

Donald Trump   (Getty/Mark Wallheiser)
Donald Trump (Getty/Mark Wallheiser)

Donald Trump's tangential relationship to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is again showing, as the Republican presidential nominee's litigation-happy reputation effectively prevented the American Bar Association from reporting on his history as a "libel bully."

According to The New York Times, the bar association refused to release a comprehensive account of Trump's efforts to silence critics with expensive libel suits.

"It is more than a little ironic," David J. Bodney, former chairman of the ABA's media-law committee, told the Times, "that a publication dedicated to the exploration of First Amendment issues is subjected to censorship when it seeks to publish an article about threats to free speech."

The ABA's deputy executive editor, James Dimos, seemed to take issue with the term "libel bully," according to the Times.

"While we do not believe that such a lawsuit has merit, it is certainly reasonable to attempt to reduce such a likelihood by removing inflammatory language that is unnecessary to further the article’s thesis," Dimos wrote in an Oct. 19 email to the committee commissioned to write the report. "Honestly, it is the same advice members of the forum would provide to their own clients."

In a local news interview over the weekend, the "libel bully" himself complained that the First Amendment allows members of the "press ... to say whatever they want and get away with it."

Trump suggested the U.S. adopt libel laws similar to those in Britain, where a fragile billionaire plaintiff has "a good chance of winning" for once.

"Deals are made and apologies are made," Trump said. "Over here they don’t have to apologize. They can say anything they want about you or me and there doesn’t have to be any apology. England has a system where if they are wrong things happen."

Over the past weekend, Trump promised to sue the many women who have now accused him of sexual assault.

"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," he told rally-goers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. "Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."

By Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

MORE FROM Brendan Gauthier

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

American Bar Association Donald Trump Elections 2016 First Amendment Freedom Of The Press Libel Bully