The New York Times “welcome[s] the opportunity” to fight Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in court over a story in which two women accuse him of sexual assault, the paper said Thursday in a letter to Trump’s lawyers.
Trump demanded an immediate retraction and apology after the NYT published the piece headlined, “Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately.” Combined with another accusation from a PEOPLE reporter and on the heels of a damning video of Trump making lewd comments about women, the story has apparently done serious damage to his campaign.
“Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” NYT lawyer David McCraw wrote in the letter.
The story hinges on claims from two women — a 74-year-old who says Trump groped her on a flight to New York and a woman who says he kissed her on the mouth when they met outside an elevator. Both of them reportedly told at least one family member at the time, although they did not make the story public until after the second presidential debate Sunday.
Trump flatly denied the accusations, and has threatened to sue the paper over the story.
“We did what the law allows,” McCraw concludes in the letter. “We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens 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 criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.”
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