“I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”

As recently as two weeks ago we covered Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s pattern of suing his critics. But the report by Paul Farhi in yesterday’s Washington Post, recounting Trump’s long courtroom assault on reporter Tim O’Brien, contains a remarkable new passage:

Both courts [in ruling that Trump’s suit should be dismissed] cited a lack of “clear and convincing” evidence to satisfy the basic legal test for libeling someone as well known as Trump: willful disregard for the truth. The appeals court noted O’Brien’s diligent and extensive efforts to research Trump’s wealth.

Trump said in an interview that he knew he couldn’t win the suit but brought it anyway to make a point. “I spent a couple of bucks on legal fees, and they spent a whole lot more. I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.”

Paul Alan Levy, at Public Citizen, calls Trump’s explanation of his actions and motives “astonishing” and says the front-runner’s “admission of malicious reasons for suing a reporter reminds us why we need anti-SLAPP statutes.” For voters, it might also raise questions of what to expect should a candidate with this instrumental view of legal action gain control of the machinery of law enforcement in the United States.

Bonus: “Litigation and legal threats related to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign” [Ballotpedia catalogue]


  • What makes Mr. Levy think they haven’t?


  • […] “I did it to make his life miserable, which I’m happy about.” (Overlwyered) […]

  • Wait…. Public Citizen says we need anti-SLAPP statutes? In the past, hasn’t Public Citizen itself been a major proponent of everyone suing everyone else???

    • There’s nothing wrong with suing someone when you have a case. There IS something wrong with suing someone when you know you can’t win, just to make them pay legal fees.

  • Wouldn’t this admission make Trump liable for a malicious prosecution suit?

  • Back home, the saying was “You might not get blood out of a turnip, but you will enjoy giving the turnip a fit”.

  • Those who support Trump, will see this as a positive action. The rule of law, general fairness, and spirit and letter of the constitution and amendments are not of interest to the Donald nor his supporters.

    • A highly ironic comment, when the rule of law at the border has been completely disregarded for so long that Trump is considered an “extremist” for declaring he will enforce it once again.

      • The rule of law at the border has been disregarded, but I don’t think that it has in the way you imply. When the northern half of Vermont and New Hampshire, to name just two states, are considered to be “border zones” where the 4th amendment does not apply, because the border patrol considers the border to extend 100 miles into the interior of the country, then the Constitutional freedoms guaranteed to us all are being destroyed, and the rule of law obliterated.

        Somehow, I don’t think Trump, who has reportedly taken great advantage of the labor of undocumented workers, despite his current rhetoric, is the one who will roll back this attack on the constitution. Trump is probably the biggest threat to American democracy since Huey Long.

  • Am I right in thinking that Trump’s admission that he knew his suit was meritless when he filed it opens him up to a suit for malicious prosecution? Or better yet, to the courts declaring Trump a “vexatious litigant” the way they do in Britain?

    If the answer to either question is no, other politicians ought to get to work on that. Pronto.