NEW YORK — President Donald Trump's re-election campaign said it filed a libel lawsuit against The New York Times on Wednesday. According to The New York Times, the lawsuit claims an op-ed article falsely asserted a “quid pro quo” between Russian officials and Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The opinion article, "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo," was written by Max Frankel and was published on March 27, 2019. The New York Times said Frankel was an executive editor of The Times from 1986 to 1994.
The opinion piece claimed that "there was no need for detailed electoral collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin's oligarchy." The lawsuit says the Times knew it was publishing false information when it published the essay
Frankel continued to claim in the op-ed that the Trump campaign and Putin "had an overarching deal: the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy, starting with relief from the Obama administration's burdensome economic sanctions."
The lawsuit was filed in New York State court on Wednesday. It sought unspecified damages.
“The Trump campaign has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable,” Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said in a statement. “Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case.”
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The Times said the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Trump campaign by Charles J. Harder. He's a lawyer known for targeting media organizations. He was the lawyer in the lawsuit that effectively bankrupted Gawker Media, and who currently represents Trump.