Judge Defends Trump's 'Intemperate Tweets'

She dismisses $4M libel lawsuit
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2017 1:10 AM CST
Judge Defends Trump's Right to Insult People on Twitter
Donald Trump gestures while speaking at a rally in Wisconsin last month.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Donald Trump's tweets are "intemperate" and "rife with vague and simplistic insults" but he has every right to keep firing them off, a New York judge has decided. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe dismissed a libel suit from GOP strategist Cheryl Jacobus this week, ruling that Trump's tweets are protected free speech, Mashable reports. Jacobus filed the $4 million lawsuit last year after Trump called her a "major loser" and a "real dummy" in response to her criticism of his campaign's lack of transparency on financing. Trump's "intemperate tweets" are rife with insults including "'total loser' or 'totally biased loser,' 'dummy' or 'dope' or 'dumb,' 'zero/no credibility,' 'crazy' or 'wacko' and 'disaster,' all deflecting serious consideration," Jaffe wrote in her decision.

Trump clearly intended to "belittle and demean" Jacobus, the judge wrote, but his tweets should be treated as opinion, not fact. "Truth itself has been lost in the cacophony of online and Twitter verbiage to such a degree that it seems to roll off the national consciousness like water off a duck's back," she wrote. Jacobus plans to appeal. "Today a court gave Trump a free pass to trample on the rights of free speech of any critic," her attorney told USA Today after the ruling. "What the court is doing is allowing defamation in the context of political speech—Trump can now eliminate his critics by dominating the media," he said, calling the ruling "a sad day for free speech, a sad day for freedom of the press, and a sad day for democracy." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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