Trump Letter Threatens to Sue CNN; Network Calls It ‘Desperate PR Stunt’

An attorney for President Donald Trump has sent a letter to CNN that threatens to sue the AT&T-owned cable-news network for violating the Lanham Act and making misrepresentations to the public and advertisers about its content, but the network says the missive isn’t worth discussing.

“This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn’t merit a response, CNN said in a statement.

Charles Harder, a noted attorney who played a large role in the downfall of the snarky news site Gawker, sent a letter Friday to Jeff Zucker, the WarnerMedia executive who oversees CNN and a company attorney, as well as Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T. In the letter, the attorney bemoans CNN’s coverage of Trump. “Never in the history of this country has a President been the subject of such a sustained barrage of unfair, unfounded, unethical and unlawful attacks by so-called ‘mainstream’ news, as the current situation,” Harder wrote.

He said his clients “intend to file legal action against you, to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

CNN and President Trump have sparred in public and in court during his term in office, a remarkable back-and-forth between the leader of the nation and one of the best known chroniclers of his administration. Trump routinely disparages CNN in public remarks and often criticizes its reporters when they ask questions of him. CNN took the Trump administration to court when it attempted to take away the “hard pass” of its chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. Journalists who cover the President need that pass to perform their jobs. CNN prevailed in the matter.

Ted Boutros, a prominent attorney who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court, said in a post on Twitter Friday that the Harder letter looked “absolutely ridiculous.” Boutros added: “No serious lawyer would ever think of sending such a frivolous letter making such a baseless threat.”

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