The Authors Guild has released a blistering statement on Trump’s libel suit threats against Michael Wolff.
On Thursday, a lawyer working for President Donald Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter to journalist Michael Wolff. Wolff had just released excerpts from his new book, Fire and Fury, depicting the Trump administration as a chaotic swirl of incompetence and exploitation, and Trump’s lawyer threatened a libel suit if Wolff and his publisher, Henry Holt and Co., did not stop distribution of the book immediately.
The president has alleged on Twitter that Wolff’s book is “phony” and “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” But the letter from Trump’s counsel seems to have been fairly counterproductive — in response, Henry Holt and Co. simply moved up Fire and Fury‘s publication date from January 9 to January 5 and basked in all the press coverage.
Regardless, the letter has given the Authors Guild cause for concern.
The Authors Guild is a legal advocacy group for authors whose mission is to protect them from predatory contracts and lawsuits, among other things. In a statement released Thursday night, the guild declared itself “dismayed” by Trump’s “unprecedented” attack on Wolff’s book.
“To the Guild’s knowledge, no prior President has sued a writer for libel, and for good reason,” reads the statement. (Per the New York Times, Jimmy Carter once threatened to sue the Washington Post for libel after it alleged that he’d bugged Nancy and Ronald Reagan, but he dropped the threat after the paper issued a retraction.) “The ability to criticize the government and its leaders lies at the essence of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech; and threats of libel lawsuits are one of the de facto primary means of Read More Here