Former Prosecutor: 'Very Unlikely' Trump Can Stop Book Publication
President Trump's legal team on Thursday sent a letter to the publisher and author of a forthcoming book about the Trump White House demanding they immediately stop its publication.
In "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," author Michael Wolff writes that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon slammed Donald Trump Jr., Trump's son-in Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort for what he called a “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign. The book also claims many of the president's top advisers disparaged him in private.
“Mr. Trump hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from any further publication, release or dissemination of the book,” Trump attorney Charles Harder wrote in a letter, demanding "a full and complete retraction and apology."
Despite the demand, publisher Henry Holt and Company announced the book will go on sale Friday, January 5, as opposed to the original date of Tuesday, January 9.
On "Shepard Smith Reporting," former Justice Department attorney and federal prosecutor Steven Mulroy said the chances are "slim and none" that the Trump team could stop the book's publication.
He explained that the prior restraint doctrine of the First Amendment highly disfavors the idea of preventing the publication of a book.
"If there is some damage - defamation or something of that matter - you can handle that later on after the fact by a suit for damages," Mulroy said. "But a prior restraint against publication of a book? I think very unlikely that a court would grant that."
He added that proving defamation can be difficult, especially when it involves a public figure.
"You would have to show reckless disregard of the truth in factual statements, which is a very, very tall order. You almost never win those kinds of cases," Mulroy said.
He noted that most of the controversial comments that Bannon allegedly made are matters of opinion, not fact, and those are not even covered by defamation law.
Mulroy warned that it could actually be a tactical mistake for Trump's lawyers to file this lawsuit.
"They'd be opening themselves up to reciprocal discovery," he said. "The other side, the defendants, would have the right to take depositions and seek document requests and look into things that the Trump campaign may not want to have to disclose."
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