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January 26 – February 2, 2006 Edition
for DefamationNEW YORK, NY/1/24/06Donald J. Trump yesterday filed a lawsuit against New York Times reporter Timothy L. O’Brien and Warner Books, Inc., alleging that O’Brien’s book about Trump, TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, published by Warner in October 2005, defamed the world-famous businessman, real estate developer and public personality.
In the lawsuit, Trump alleges that O’Brien and Warner knowingly made egregiously false and malicious statements about Trump, his family, his personal life and his business dealings, including statements grossly misrepresenting Trump’s net worth. Those defamatory statements included statements that O’Brien claimed were based on three purported anonymous sources with “direct knowledge” of Trump’s finances, that Trump “was not remotely close to being a billionaire,” and that his “net worth was somewhere between $150 million and $250 million.”
The lawsuit alleges that in publishing these false statements, O’Brien and Warner deliberately chose to ignore, among other things, voluminous and comprehensive financial information that Trump made available to them prior to the publication of the book, which confirmed conclusively that Trump’s net worth is in the billions of dollars. Indeed, Forbes Magazine rigorously analyzed the very same books and records and other financial data that O’Brien and Warner chose to ignore, and concluded that Trump’s net worth conservatively is at least $2.7 billion.
The lawsuit further alleges that the defamatory statements were made not only in O’Brien’s book, but also in a major article published in the New York Times on the front page of its Sunday Business Section, containing excerpts from the book, as well as in interviews of O’Brien about the book and the article.
The lawsuit, which was filed in state court in Camden, New Jersey, seeks $2.5 billion in compensatory damages and $2.5 billion in punitive damages against O’Brien and Warner Books.
Commenting on the lawsuit, Trump said: “Rather than sitting back and letting false statements be published without challenge, I believe it is important to expose irresponsible, malicious and false reporting. The writer and publisher of this book knew full well that their statements were false and malicious, but in hopes of generating book sales, they did not care. In so doing, they exposed themselves to this lawsuit. It is about time that somebody stepped forward to expose certain members of the press for what they are. Whether it is a Jayson Blair or a Tim O’Brien, the public should be informed so that they can take a more skeptical view of the things they read in certain media. The libel laws of this country exist to protect against the dissemination of malicious falsehoods.” Trump also added that the book was “terribly written.”
Trump is himself the author of five number-one best-selling books.
Trump is represented in this case by Marc E. Kasowitz of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP, of New York, Atlanta, Houston, Newark, and San Francisco, and William M. Tambussi of Brown & Connery LLP of Westmont, New Jersey.
For further information, please contact the persons listed above.
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