A New York judge ordered former President Donald Trump Friday to pay $392,638 in legal fees to The New York Times.
New York Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed awarded the fees Friday after dismissing last May a lawsuit Trump filed against the outlet and three of its reporters, along with his niece Mary Trump, in 2021. Trump had sought to hold the reporters liable for encouraging his niece to provide them with confidential tax documents in violation of a prior settlement, according to The Hill.
“Courts have long recognized that reporters are entitled to engage in legal and ordinary newsgathering activities without fear of tort liability — as these actions are at the very core of protected First Amendment activity,” Reed ruled in May, according to The Hill.
Trump previously claimed the outlet, as well as his niece, were motivated “by a personal vendetta and their desire to gain fame, notoriety, acclaim and a financial windfall and were further intended to advance their political agenda,” according to the New York Post.
The 2018 story at the center of the dispute, written by reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner, challenged Trump’s claim to be a “self-made billionaire” through investigating his “dubious tax schemes.”
“Today’s decision shows that the state’s newly amended anti-SLAPP statute can be a powerful force for protecting press freedom,” Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “The court has sent a message to those who want to misuse the judicial system to try to silence journalists.”
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