The campaign to reelect President Trump is suing the New York Times for defamation, saying it was responsible for an essay by a former executive editor for the newspaper that claimed the campaign made a deal with Russian officials to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. In the lawsuit filed in state court in New York Wednesday, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. said the newspaper knowingly published false and defamatory statements when the op-ed piece claimed the campaign had an "overarching deal" with "Vladimir Putin's oligarchy" to defeat the Democratic candidate, the AP reports. The March 2019 article, "The Real Trump-Russia Quid Pro Quo," by Max Frankel, said the deal called for "the quid of help in the campaign against Hillary Clinton for the quo of a new pro-Russian foreign policy."
Frankel was executive editor of the Times from 1986 to 1994. The lawsuit said Times reporters had confirmed the falsity of the statements, but the newspaper published them anyway because of its "extreme bias against and animosity toward the Campaign, and the Times' exuberance to improperly influence the presidential election in November 2020." Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said in a statement that the Trump campaign "has turned to the courts to try to punish an opinion writer for having an opinion they find unacceptable. Fortunately, the law protects the right of Americans to express their judgments and conclusions, especially about events of public importance. We look forward to vindicating that right in this case."
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