Trump ordered to pay NY Times' legal fees

 January 14, 2024

A judge has ordered former President Donald Trump to pay the New York Times nearly $400,000 in legal fees. 

New York Judge Robert Reed, accorded to the Associated Press, gave the order on Friday.

What's going on?

This all stems from a lawsuit that Trump filed, in 2021, against the Times, three of its reporters, and his niece Mary Trump.

ABC News reports:

In 2021, Trump sued his niece Mary Trump, The New York Times and three of its reporters over an alleged breach of a confidentiality agreement related to his tax records. Trump alleged that the reporters were "motivated by a personal vendetta" when they engaged in a "insidious plot" to get his personal tax records.

This culminated in the Times' infamous 2018 report about Trump's wealth and tax practices. Mary Trump was the chief source for the story. She gave the outlet Trump's tax records.

Trump's lawsuit against the Times and its reporters was dismissed by Reed last year. But, Trump's lawsuit against Mary Trump remains. Trump alleges that his niece violated a prior settlement agreement when she gave the Times his tax records.

$400,000 in legal fees

Now, Reed has ordered Trump to pay the Times' legal fees.

Reed rejected Trump's argument that the requested amount - nearly $400,000 - was "unjustified" and "exorbitant."

Reed wrote:

Considering the complexity of the issues presented in this action, the number of causes of action, the experience, ability and reputation of defendants' attorneys, the considerable amount in dispute, and the attorneys' success in dismissing the complaint against their defendants … the court finds that $392,638.69 is a reasonable value for the legal services rendered.


The Times has put out a statement celebrating the ruling.

Spokesperson Danielle Rhoads Ha said, "Today’s decision shows that the state’s newly amended anti-SLAPP statute can be a powerful force for protecting press freedom. The court has sent a message to those who want to misuse the judicial system to try to silence journalists."

Suffice it to say that Alina Habba, Trump's lawyer, sees things a bit differently.

Habba, in a statement, expressed her disappointment in the outcome, particularly in Reeds' decision to dismiss Trump's lawsuit against the Times and its reporters. But, Habba also expressed satisfaction that the case against Mary Trump will proceed.

"Once again affirmed the strength of our claims against Mary and is denying her attempt to avoid accountability," Habba said, adding, "We look forward to proceeding with our claims against her."

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