Donald Trump Just Used Hulk Hogan’s Lawyer To Set Fire To The First Amendment

A Slovenian magazine recently reported that in the 1990s Melania Trump was allegedly a high-priced escort. That story was repeated last Friday by The Daily Mail and was subsequently picked up by every blog in the universe, including GOPocalypse.

In return, we found out exactly how Donald Trump will probably rule America if elected president.

Here, let me repeat what I said before: A Slovenian magazine recently reported that in the 1990s Melania Trump was allegedly a high-priced escort. According to the Trump School of Constitutional Law, that isn’t me reporting to my readers something another blog said, that’s me printing libel and defaming Melania Trump, causing her “emotional distress.”

If you’ve never heard of Charles Harder, he’s the lawyer who managed to take down Gawker over the Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal. We can only assume that Harder was hired because of his role in dealing with a story on the internet so effectively. Harder went right to work having his assistants send out letters to every online publication that reported on the story, accusing us all of slandering sweet Melania’s name and hurting her feelings.
Here are some highlights of the copy we received:

Dear GOPocalypse:

This law firm is litigation counsel for Melania Trump.  We write in connection with the many libelous statements in the story published on or about August 21, 2016 bearing the headline “REPORT: Melania Trump Was A High-End Escort For Wealthy Johns” (the “Story”). 

The following statements in the Story, among others, are false and defamatory, and therefore, we demand that you immediately and permanently remove each of these statements from the Story, print a full and complete retraction and apology, with as prominent placement as the original Story, and pay costs and damages:

Now I have to admit, at first it’s very daunting — getting a letter from the lawyer who took down Gawker and knowing this is actually coming from a billionaire intent on suing a bunch of people who can’t afford to be sued isn’t something that happens everyday. Right after this demand to retract, apologize and send…a bunch of money, apparently…the letter went into a little bullet-point presentation of the exact wording used in our article, making it seem like much more than the standard form letter, of which we see plenty in our business. After the “we’re onto you” portion, the letter continued:

The true facts are as follows:  Mrs. Trump never worked as an escort or sex worker, nor did she ever have a composite or presentation card for the sex business.  Mrs. Trump had a single composite card – for modeling.  As you know, Paolo Zampolli has vehemently and publicly denied allegations that he operated a sex business.

Your publication of the defamatory statements above constitutes, among other claims:  libel per se, false light invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Remedies for your legal violations include, among others, actual damages, special damages, punitive damages, and temporary and permanent injunctive relief.  Actual malice can be proven by nature of the fact that my client has publicly denied the foregoing statements, and her denial has been published in other publications.  In addition, this letter constitutes direct notice of the false and defamatory nature of the foregoing statements, and actual malice can easily be proven, particularly for any continued publication.

This is where the real story begins. Here is where Trump’s million-dollar (allegedly) lawyer has crafted a version of the story suitable to the Trumps that we must now push in as prominent a location as the original — complete with a full apology — or be sued into oblivion by Hulk Hogan’s lawyer, because he said so. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. GOPocalypse’s publication of what he calls a defamatory statement was published as pure speculation, using the term “allegations” many times, and ultimately applauding Melania if she had been an escort because bravo: it’s your life, do what you want with it.

We weren’t the source of the allegations, we didn’t confirm the allegations and we certainly didn’t report them as facts. As a matter of fact, neither did the Daily Mail. Nobody did. We were doing what’s called “reporting” as members of the “free press” under this little thing called the “First Amendment.” The letter concluded:

Please confirm in writing within twenty-four (24) hours of the transmission of this letter that the foregoing demands will be, and are being, fully complied with.  Failure to do so will leave my client with no alternative but to institute immediate legal proceedings against you and, should that occur, she would pursue all available causes of action and seek all available legal remedies to the maximum extent permitted by law.  Please govern yourselves accordingly.

This letter is not intended as a full or complete statement of all relevant facts or applicable law, and nothing herein is intended as, nor should it be deemed to constitute, a waiver or relinquishment of any of my client’s rights, remedies, claims or causes of action, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.

You have to love that last line. Let’s see it again for those who weren’t paying attention:

This letter is not intended as a full or complete statement of all relevant facts or applicable law, and nothing herein is intended as, nor should it be deemed to constitute, a waiver or relinquishment of any of my client’s rights, remedies, claims or causes of action, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.

Basically that says, “Hi, I’m Hulk Hogan’s lawyer. I just bought the First Amendment on behalf of my client and here’s the disclaimer that it’s not legally binding in any way, shape or form.”

One by one the stories dropped. Everyone gave into the fear. Retractions and apologies went up all over the place even though, as the disclaimer states, they’re nothing but blowhards looking to use fear and intimidation to bully a story out of existence.

OK, Mr. Hogan’s fancy lawyer. The story is down. We removed it. We don’t wish to be dragged through the mud by a narcissist who buys his way out of everything or his poor little trophy wife whose feelz is all hurt. But there will be no apology. There will be no monetary compensation and there will certainly be no being afraid. You see, Mr. Big Bad, We did nothing wrong. As a public figure, Melania Trump is subject to extreme scrutiny. Under libel law, we’re allowed to report on public controversy and report the allegations of others. We’re the free press. Somebody accused Melania Trump of being a hooker. She’s going to have to live with that.

This one you seem to have won, but you are hereby on notice: threatening letters and Nazi intimidation tactics won’t work again. As a matter of fact, considering I just said that somebody accused Melania Trump of being a hooker, they didn’t work this time, did they? In your “put the fancy leather boot to the neck” world of practicing law, that in and of itself constitutes some kind of wrongdoing. Let me ask you this, Chuck: Of the dozens of blogs and news outlets that reported on the Hulk Hogan story, how many did you successfully sue?

The answer to that is, none — because they all did exactly what we did: their jobs. We won’t be opening future emails about this matter unless they come from a court of law and then we’ll just forward them to the ACLU and see what happens.

Thanks for your cooperation. Please govern yourselves accordingly.


 *Update* There’s an error in the wording of the question and answer directed at Charles Harder about how many publications he successfully sued. That number would be ONE: Gawker.

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