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Fri May 29, 2020, 12:01 AM

Trump's 'Horrifying Lies' About Lori Klausutis May Cross a Legal Line

Source: New York Times

Trump’s ‘Horrifying Lies’ About Lori Klausutis May Cross a Legal Line

The president’s innuendo about the death of a congressional staffer in 2001 could lead to a costly court judgment against him.

By Peter H. Schuck
Mr. Schuck is an emeritus professor of law at Yale and Darling Foundation visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

May 28, 2020

President Trump and his minions relentlessly grind out despicable acts — gratuitous insults to war heroes, over 18,000 (and counting) false or misleading statements, many decisions courts have ruled illegal. But Mr. Trump’s wantonly cruel tweets about the tragic death in 2001 of Lori Klausutis are distinctive: They may constitute intentional torts for which a civil jury could award punitive damages against him.

Here are the key facts. Ms. Klausutis, age 28, died in the Florida district office of a Republican congressman, Joe Scarborough, who was then in Washington. The police found no evidence of foul play and the coroner reported that the cause of death was a hard fall against a hard object precipitated by her floppy mitral valve disease.

That should have been the end of the story, but this month the president tweeted to his 80 million followers that “some people think” that Mr. Scarborough, now a popular MSNBC news host who frequently criticizes Mr. Trump, got “away with murder,” and called Mr. Scarborough a “psycho” and a “total nut job.”

The president has offered no evidence for this slander, because there is none. Last week, Timothy Klausutis, Lori’s widower, wrote a remarkably restrained, poignant letter to Jack Dorsey, the head of Twitter, citing the pain that Mr. Trump’s “horrifying lies” about his wife’s death have caused him and the family, and asking Mr. Dorsey to remove Mr. Trump’s tweet. Mr. Dorsey has refused, most likely because the 1996 Communications Decency Act probably protects him from defamation claims for publishing the words of another. However Twitter added a warning label to the president’s false tweets on Tuesday about mail-in ballots, the first time the service has taken such a step.

Mr. Trump’s first tort is called intentional infliction of emotional distress, which the courts developed precisely to condemn wanton cruelty to another person who suffers emotionally as a result. This tort, which is sometimes called “outrage,” readily applies to Mr. Trump’s tweets about Ms. Klausutis. They were intentional and reckless, and were “extreme and outrageous” without a scintilla of evidence to support them. And they caused severe emotional distress — the protracted, daily-felt grief described in Mr. Klausutis’s letter to Mr. Dorsey.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/opinion/twitter-trump-scarborough.html

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Reply Trump's 'Horrifying Lies' About Lori Klausutis May Cross a Legal Line (Original post)
Eugene May 29 OP
hadEnuf May 29 #1
Karadeniz May 29 #2
BComplex May 29 #3
quakerboy May 29 #4

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2020, 12:10 AM

1. No question about it; they should sue the shit out of Trump.

This disgusting & incompetent vermin needs the kitchen sink thrown at him.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2020, 12:32 AM

2. I haven't understood why Scarborough hadn't sued him.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2020, 01:27 AM

3. Hell! Then I should sue Fox "news"!! Their lies cause me terrible distress each and every

day!

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri May 29, 2020, 02:41 AM

4. Russia will be happy to pick up the tab

as long as trump gets to keep wrecking the USA

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