Trump Lawyer Warns New York Times about ‘Defamation,’ ‘Substantial Liability’

The lawyer who won a multi-million dollar libel settlement for Melania Trump is now warning The New York Times about a story suggesting her husband, President Donald Trump, may have committed tax fraud.

On Tuesday, the Times published a story, “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches from His Father,” in which it claims to have obtained the president’s confidential tax records and says Trump committed “outright fraud”:

“President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.”

In its story, the Times links to a statement from Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for Pres. Trump, declaring the story’s allegations are “100% false, and highly defamatory” – and based on “extremely inaccurate” claims.

Harder warns that the Times allegations expose it to “substantial liability and damages for defamation”:

Statement to The Times from Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for President Trump

The New York Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100% false, and highly defamatory. There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate. All estate matters were handled by licensed attorneys, licensed CPAs and licensed real estate appraisers who followed all laws and rules strictly. All matters were filed with the IRS and New York taxing authorities. The returns and tax positions that the Times now attacks were examined in real time by the relevant taxing authorities. The taxing authorities requested a few minor adjustments, which were made, and then fully approved all of the tax filings. These matters have now been closed for more than a decade.

President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law. Should the Times state or imply that President Trump participated in fraud, tax evasion, or any other crime, it will be exposing itself to substantial liability and damages for defamation.

In 2017, Mr. Harder won a multi-million dollar settlement and obtained a full retraction and apology for the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, in a libel action against the Daily Mail. The Wall Street Journal reports that the publication paid the First Lady Melania Trump $2.9 million to settle the lawsuit.

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