WASHINGTON ― Donald Trump’s campaign signaled Wednesday night that it may sue women accusing the GOP nominee of sexual misconduct, escalating its defense to new claims of Trump’s predatory behavior published in The New York Times and elsewhere.
“NYT editors, reporters, politically motivated accusers better lawyer up,” a high-ranking Trump campaign source told CNN.
Trump quickly laid plans to sue the Times hours after the newspaper reported he groped a businesswoman on an airliner three decades ago and kissed a Trump Tower receptionist on the mouth in 2005. Extending that threat to individual women, putting them at risk for costly legal bills, may make new accusers hesitate before coming forward.
Trump has a history of legal intimidation. According to USA Today, Trump and his businesses have been involved in 3,500 lawsuits over the years, easily making him the most litigious presidential candidate of all time.
The Times report is one of several on Wednesday quoting women telling first-hand accounts of Trump’s sexually aggressive behavior. People magazine published its reporter’s first-person account of Trump suddenly kissing her during a break in a Mar-a-Largo interview with Trump and his wife, Melania.
The Palm Beach Post published an account of another woman claiming to have been groped by Trump at Mar-a-Largo. In addition, there were reports of Trump walking in on teen girls while they were changing during Miss Teen USA competitions.
Trump’s senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, characterized the Times article as “fiction,” and said it “trivializes sexual assault.”
Trump previously threatened legal action against the Times after the newspaper published a bombshell account of his tax returns earlier this month. So far, there’s been no lawsuit. And even if Trump does sue, he’ll stand little chance in the courts.