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NYT refuses to retract Trump story; says no libel

Press Trust of India  |  New York 

The New York Times has refused to retract its story on two women accusing Donald Trump of inappropriate behaviour, saying the article does not libel the Republican presidential candidate and removing it would be a "disservice" not only to its readers but also to democracy.

In a strong-worded response to Trump and his lawyers, The New York Times (NYT) lawyer David McCraw said removing the article would be a "disservice" not only to NYT's readers but also to democracy.

He rejected claims by the Trump team that the article is libelous, arguing that "the essence of a libel claim is the protection of one's reputation".

"Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms," McCraw said, adding that Trump even let a radio host talk about his daughter in sexually explicit and demeaning terms.

"Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Trump, through is own words and actions, has already created for himself," he said.

McCraw said it would have been a "disservice" not just to NYT readers but to "democracy" itself to silence the voices of women, who have come forward and spoken out against Trump's inappropriate behaviour against them.

"We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern," he said.

McCraw said the NYT is ready to fight the case in court if Trump believes that those who "dare" to criticise him should stay silent or be punished.

"If he believes that the American public had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticise him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straigh," he said.

Jessica Leeds, 74 had recalled in the New York Times report that Trump had assaulted her when she was traveling in an airplane more than three decades ago.

She had sat besides Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight to New York and about 45 minutes after takeoff, Leeds said Trump, whom she had never met before, lifted the armrest and began to touch her.

Rachel Crooks, who was a 22-year-old receptionist in 2005, alleged in the article that Trump kissed her outside an elevator in the Trump Tower, his home and headquarters in Manhattan.

Trump emphatically denied the allegations, telling The New York Times reporter that "none of this ever took place".

He had said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the organisation if it reported them.

"You are a disgusting human being," he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women's claims.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 14 2016. 20:58 IST