Trump attorney demands retraction of report claiming that ‘Russian oligarchs’ co-signed the president's loans

Trump attorney demands retraction of report claiming that ‘Russian oligarchs’ co-signed the president's loans
Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

An attorney for President Donald Trump, Charles J. Harder, has demanded an apology and retraction from MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell over his report on Tuesday’s show citing a source that said “Russian oligarchs” co-signed Deutsche Bank loans to Trump.

In a letter addressed to Susan E. Weiner, executive VP and general counsel for NBC Universal, Harder described O’Donnell’s statements as “false and defamatory” and “extremely damaging.”

Harder wrote, “The only borrowers under these loans are Trump entities, and Mr. Trump is the only guarantor. Numerous documents for these loans are also recorded, publicly available and searchable online. Thus, actual malice can easily be proven based on your reckless disregard of the truth.”

In the letter, Harder noted that O’Donnell described the “co-signers” as “Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin.”

Legal analyst Renato Mariotti, on Twitter, posted, “This could be a viable defamation claim by Trump.”

Mariotti tweeted, “Ordinarily, these suits backfire because the person bringing the suit puts the truth of the underlying statement at issue, opening up discovery on the underlying issue, which often they do not want in the public eye. However, since Trump merely claims that he was the only guarantor and that narrow issue can be proven via bank documents, this could be very straight-forward.”

But Mariotti also tweeted, “That doesn't mean that O'Donnell ‘recklessly disregarded the truth,’ which is what the law requires.”

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