HomeLatest NewsTrump Takes Legal Action: Sues Stephanopoulos, ABC for Defamation After Nancy Mace...

Trump Takes Legal Action: Sues Stephanopoulos, ABC for Defamation After Nancy Mace Interview

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The former president Donald Trump is currently defending himself in several legal cases, but he has also taken offense at comments made by ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview conducted with South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace in early March.

Stephanopolous misrepresented legal findings against Trump after the interview. He said that “two separate juries and judges have found him guilty of rape.”

Trump has now filed a lawsuit for defamation in response to Stephanopoulos’s remarks.

Trump’s lawsuit targets Stephanopoulos for saying repeatedly during his interview that Trump was found “liable for Rape”. The jury found Trump liable under New York law for sexual abuse, but not for rape.

“Judges and two separate juries have found him liable for rape and for defaming the victim of that rape. How do you square your endorsement of Donald Trump with the testimony we just saw, ” Stephanopoulos asked during the interview.

In the 20-page lawsuit, Alejandro Brito wrote “These statements remain false and were made with actual malice, or with a reckless regard for the truth, given that Defendant Stephanopoulos is aware that these statements are demonstrably and patently false.”

Brito added, “The jury found Plaintiff not guilty of rape. George Stephanopoulos knew about the jury’s findings in this regard but falsely claimed otherwise.”

The 20-page complaint alleges two counts – one for defamation by itself (statements that are automatically considered harmful) and another for defamation per quod (statements that the plaintiff must prove have caused damage). It also seeks unspecified damages.

The complaint states that the jury found Trump liable in the E. Jean Carroll case (Carroll II) for sexual abuse and defamation, but declined to hold him liable for the rape. The second Carroll trial only involved a defamation claim. As the complaint states, Stephanopoulos knew this because he asked Carroll directly about it during an interview that took place shortly after the first verdict, in May 2023.

Stephanopoulos asked Carroll specifically, “How about yesterday, in the courtroom? The first announcement made was that he wasn’t found guilty of rape. What were you thinking? (emphasis added).

Here’s where Stephanopoulos, ABC, and Stephanopoulos may have some room to maneuver: After that initial verdict, and Carroll’s repeated claims that Trump had sexually assaulted her afterward, Trump counter-sued Carroll in the still pending defamation suit (Carroll I). In dismissing this counterclaim, Judge Lewis Kaplan found that Carroll’s use of the word “rape” in describing Trump’s actions was “substantially accurate.”

U.S. district judge Lewis Kaplan dismissed Trump’s argument and ruled that Carroll’s CNN statement was substantially true. Kaplan concluded there would have been “no different effect on average listeners’ minds.”

There is a minimal difference between Ms. Carroll’s allegedly defamatory statement — that Trump had ‘raped her’ as defined by the New York Penal Law, and the “truth” — that Trump forcefully digitally penetrated Carroll. Both are felonious sexual crimes.

In either case, Stephanopolous made incorrect comments in the Mace interview, something he was aware of or should have been aware of. Trump was found not guilty of rape by zero juries. In a case that was appealed, one judge determined that a jury’s verdict of “sexual abuse,” amounted to essentially the same thing.

Trump is fortunate that this judge will not make the final decisions in this lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed at the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida, and it is currently pending in front of Judge Cecilia Altonaga. She has been on the court since 2003 when President George W. Bush appointed her. However, this does not guarantee the outcome of this litigation. It does, however, guarantee that Kaplan (who doesn’t seem to give much weight to legal distinctions and definitions) will not preside.

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