The New York Times on Thursday rejected Donald Trump’s claim the newspaper had libeled the Republican presidential nominee, saying its story about two women who said he sexually assaulted them was “newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern.”
In a letter Thursday, Times attorney David McCraw said Trump “has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women” and that multiple women had already come forward. “Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” he wrote.
The Times reported Wednesday that two women told the paper of his unwanted sexual advances. One, Jessica Leeds, said Trump groped her on an airplane more than three decades ago. The other, Rachel Crooks, said Trump kissed her without invitation in 2006 when she was a 22-year-old receptionist for a real estate firm located at Trump Tower.
Trump vehemently denied the allegations, and demanded through his attorney that the story be retracted. At a rally in Ohio, Trump said the media had “slandered and lied about me with false accusations.”
The Times refused to retract the story, saying its reporters worked diligently to confirm the women’s accounts. “It would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices,” McCraw’s letter said.
McCraw said that if Trump decides to go ahead with a lawsuit, then “we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”