Trump defeats $4 million defamation suit over tweets

January 20, 2017

A political strategist may not sue President-elect Donald Trump for defamation based on his tweets that claimed she had turned hostile after she begged him for a job and his campaign team turned her down, a New York judge has ruled.

A reasonable reader would recognize Trump’s tweets about Cheryl Jacobus, a Republican political strategist and frequent news commentator, as opinion statements, not facts creating a cause of action for defamation, New York County Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe ruled.

She said Trump made the statements through Twitter, where he frequently criticizes his opponents with “vague and simplistic insults.”

This context is relevant to show that readers would not reasonably understand the tweets to be factual statements, the judge said.

Additionally, Trump’s statement that his campaign rejected Jacobus for a position does not mean that she improperly performed her duties or engaged in unprofessional conduct, Judge Jaffe said.

She granted Trump’s motion to dismiss the suit in its entirety.

Jacobus v. Trump et al., No. 153252/16, 2017 WL 87167 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty. Jan. 9, 2017).

Related Filings:

2016 WL 1554861 (Summons), Trial Pleading (April 18, 2016)