×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fire and Fury’ Publisher: Trump’s Legal Threat Is Effort to ‘Silence Legitimate Criticism’

The legal team for author Michael Wolff and the publisher of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” says that a cease and desist letter sent by President Donald Trump’s attorney “appears to be designed to silence legitimate criticism.”

Elizabeth A. McNamara of Davis Wright Tremaine, representing Wolff and Henry Holt & Co., said they would not halt publication of the book, issue any retraction or apologize for the book, which quickly became a best seller when it was released on Friday.

Henry Holt and Wolff’s private attorney, McNamara, wrote a response to a legal threat sent by Trump’s private attorney, Charles Harder.

“Though your letter provides a basic summary of New York libel law, it stops short of identifying a single statement in the book that is factually false or defamatory,” McNamara wrote. She called it the “antithesis of an actionable libel claim.”

Harder sent the letter late on Wednesday, seeking to halt the book’s publication or further excerpts. Instead, Henry Holt moved up the publication date to last Friday, and it quickly started selling out at bookstores in major cities.

McNamara wrote that “as President Trump knows, Mr. Wolff was permitted extraordinary access to the Trump administration and campaign from May 2016 to this past October, and he conducted more than 200 interviews with President Trump, most members of his senior staff and with many people they in turn talked to. These interviews served as the basis for the reporting in Mr. Wolff’s book. We have no reason to doubt — and you letter provides no reason to change the conclusion — that Mr. Wolff’s book is an accurate report on events of vital public importance.”

Her letter also rejects other claims that Trump’s attorneys made in his latter, including false light invasion of privacy, and of tortuous interference and breach of contract. The latter claim was that Wolff induced Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, to violate a non-disclosure agreement he signed during the campaign.

“The law treats sources like Mr. Bannon as adults, and it is Mr. Bannon’s responsibility — not Henry Holt’s or Mr. Wolff’s — to honor any contractual obligations,” she wrote.

She also responds to Harder’s request that Henry Holt and Wolff preserve any documents related to the book with a similar request. It appeared to be a veiled reference to the fact that a defamation suit would put the onus on Trump to prove that the statements are not true. As a public figure, Trump would have to show that Wolff and the publisher acted with actual malice — they knew the contents of the book were false or had a “reckless disregard” for the truth.

“Should you pursue litigation against Henry Holt or Mr. Wolff, we are quite confident that documents related to the contents of the book in the possession of President Trump, his family members, his businesses, his campaign, and his administration will prove particularly relevant to our defense,” she wrote.

Harder has not yet responded to the decision to move forward with the book’s publication.

More Politics

  • Devin Nunes

    Devin Nunes Files $250 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against Twitter

    U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against Twitter on Monday, alleging that he has been the victim of hundreds of hate-filled tweets. The suit also takes aim at Liz Mair, a Republican communications consultant who has attacked Nunes on Twitter, and the anonymous accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow.” [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Peter Jackson: New Zealanders Stand 'United in Our Love' in Wake of Mosque Attacks

    “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson said Saturday that he and his fellow New Zealanders “stand united in our love and support for our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters” in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch that left at least 49 people dead. “New Zealanders are devastated,” Jackson [...]

  • Steven Mnuchin

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Grilled Over Interest in Wife's Production Company

    WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was asked in a Senate hearing about a continued potential interest in Stormchaser Films, the production company founded by his wife, Louise Linton. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said at a hearing on Thursday that the concern is that “there has been [...]

  • Police keep watch at a park

    At Least 49 Killed in Terrorist Attack on Two New Zealand Mosques

    Armed attacks Friday on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed at least 49 people and injured dozens of others in what authorities called an act of terrorism. Four people – three men and one woman – were in custody Friday evening, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said. One of them, reported to be [...]

  • Anti-Brexit remain in the European Union

    British Parliament Decides to Ask for Delay to Brexit

    The British Parliament has voted to ask for a delay to the U.K.’s exit from the European Union in a bid for more time to get squabbling lawmakers behind a deal on the terms of the withdrawal. The U.K. is currently due to leave the E.U. on March 29, but Thursday evening’s 412-202 vote in [...]

  • President Donald Trump listens to a

    N.Y. Appeals Court Rules Trump Can't Avoid Summer Zervos' Defamation Suit

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is not immune from a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, even as his lawyers argued that the case should at least be deferred until the end of his term, a New York appeals court ruled on Thursday. Trump’s attorneys had argued that the Supremacy Clause of [...]

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb.

    Beto O'Rourke Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

    WASHINGTON — Beto O’Rourke announced on Thursday that he is running for president in 2020, saying that the “challenges we face are the greatest in living memory.” He and his wife posted a video to launch the campaign. I am running to serve you as the next president. The challenges we face are the greatest [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content