President Trump addresses rally in Harrisburg, PA on April 29, 2017. Screenshot from NBCNews.
Screenshot from NBCNews.

Trump’s lawyers push to make defamation lawsuit go away

As much of the world no doubt recalls, Donald Trump was recorded in 2005 boasting about his romantic exploits, which eventually led him to brag about committing sexual assaults. The Republican said, among other things, that he kisses women he considers attractive – “I don’t even wait,” Trump claimed – which he said he can get away with because of his public profile.

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said on the recording. “You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the p—y.”

After Trump denied having done what he bragged about doing, 11 women came forward to accuse the Republican of sexual misconduct – one of whom, Summer Zervos, is currently suing the president for defamation, stemming from the controversy.

The Washington Post reports that Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, who’s also helping defend the president in the Russia scandal, is pushing a few arguments in the hopes of making this case go away, including the curious idea that campaign rhetoric doesn’t count.

Kasowitz also argued that Zervos’ complaint should be dismissed because her original allegations against Trump were not true and, in addition, because Trump’s campaign-trail statements were protected by the First Amendment. A certain level of hyperbole is to be expected in the heat of a political campaign, he wrote, and such statements are legally protected speech.

During the campaign, Trump said the women who accused against him of inappropriately touching them were putting forward “made-up stories and lies” and “telling totally false stories.” Kasowitz argued those statements and others could not be considered defamatory but instead were “nothing more than heated campaign rhetoric designed to persuade the public audience that Mr. Trump should be elected president irrespective of what the media and his opponents had claimed over his 18-month campaign.”

It’s amazing how frequently Trump’s lawyers cling to this line in judicial proceedings.

Team Trump is effectively saying the president’s “heated” rhetoric doesn’t count because he’s a politician trying to pick up votes.

Which is what Trump’s lawyers said while trying to defend the White House’s Muslim ban.

And what Trump’s lawyers said while trying to defend the president’s executive order on so-called “sanctuary cities.”

And what Trump’s lawyers said while trying to defend his rhetoric that allegedly incited violence at a campaign rally.

And even what Trump’s lawyers said while trying to defend him from fraud allegations in the Trump University case.

Donald Trump

Trump's lawyers push to make defamation lawsuit go away