Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski Wants To Sue Buzzfeed For Negative Story, Doesn’t Understand The First Amendment

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says that he might sue Buzzfeed for publishing a negative story about him. He told New York reporter Gabriel Sherman, “I’m not a public person. I told [BuzzFeed reporter] McKay Coppins that his story was inaccurate. I told him not to publish. And he chose to run the story anyway.”

The law about libel suits says that a public figure has to prove that information is maliciously published about them — the information can’t just be incorrect — which is exceedingly difficult to do. That’s why Lewandowski is attempting to claim that he’s not a public person — but the legal definition of a public figure is “a personage of great public interest or familiarity.” And, unfortunately for Lewandowski, his own behavior, combined with his prominent position on another public figure’s campaign, has made him a person of great public interest.

He continued, “It’s all conjecture. Oh, an anonymous source said I did X? Does that mean I can tweet out ‘Mr. Y has had inappropriate relationships with little boys’? Where is the line?” Well, actually, if he’d like to know where the line is, he could get cozy with the technicalities of U.S. libel laws, since he is, after all, an adviser to a man who is running for President of the United States. Sources are protected for a reason — because not protecting sources would chill their ability to speak out without fear of facing retribution (a retribution that Lewandowski has been shown on video to be willing to dole out, and which many named sources have seen him dole out). Lewandowski would have to prove that he’s not a public figure, that Buzzfeed published the article with malicious rather than informative intent, and then he might be able to get the court to compel Buzzfeed to reveal their sources.

Both Trump and Lewandowski like to believe that if you don’t like something that’s written about you, you can complain and litigate enough to silence the people who wrote it. Well, welcome to America, guys! Here, we have freedom of speech.

[New York Magazine]

Send me a line at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter.