Is Klayman Now Trump’s Lawyer

Donald Trump is suing Univision for dropping their broadcasting of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants and, amusingly, for defamation. He’s demanding $500 million (read that in the voice of Dr. Evil — one billion trillion bajillion dollars!). The complaint reads like it was written by Larry Klayman.

Donald Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision on Tuesday for breach of contract and defamation, making good on last week’s promise to punish the network for reneging on what he described as an “iron-clad” $13.5-million contract for broadcast rights to Trump’s Miss Universe Organization pageants.

The lawsuit, which was filed with the New York State Supreme Court, states that Univision and the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump co-owns, had reached an agreement in January that included the rights to broadcast the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and the Miss Universe competition from 2015 through 2019. Univision agreed to pay $2.5 million per year until 2017, and $3 million per year for 2018 and 2019, and to make “reasonable efforts” to broadcast it over two to three hours on a Sunday night.

In a statement, Trump said Univision’s’ decision not to broadcast the pageant was politically motivated and an attempt to suppress his freedom of speech: “Nothing that I stated was different from what I have been saying for many years. I want strong borders, and I do not support or condone illegal immigration,” Trump said in part.

Yes, the complaint actually argues that Univision is violating his First Amendment rights, something only the government can do. The complaint is just like everything else Trump does, full of empty and irrelevant bluster. Like Klayman, his attorneys have packed it with all manner of political boilerplate about how they’re trying to stop his presidential campaign (totally irrelevant to either the breach of contract or defamation claim). I presume his attorneys are better than a bottom feeder like Klayman, which leaves me a bit baffled as to why they would file a complaint this bad. Maybe Trump just pays so well that they’ll write whatever he wants them to write. You can read the complaint here.

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  • reddiaperbaby1942

    As far as I’m concerned, and leaving aside the idiot Trump, a universe without a “Miss” in it is better off anyway.

  • John Pieret

    What next? Denying the free speech of the dead thing on his head?

  • Nick Gotts

    He’s demanding $500 million (read that in the voice of Dr. EvilEgnor — one billion trillion bajillion dollars!).


  • Nick Gotts

    Now why didn’t my strikeout work? Let’s try again:

    He’s demanding $500 million (read that in the voice of Dr. EvilEgnor — one billion trillion bajillion dollars!).

  • mmfwmc

    I’d love to see the Larry Klayman try to sue you for defamation one day (well, I don’t actually want you to be sued, but the result would be hilarious). It may be the first case in history where the plaintiff’s pretrial motions (and probably the court transcript) would be entered into evidence by the defense.

  • llewelly

    How many of Trump’s fans are going to read the political boilerplate and send more money to Trump’s campaign slush fund?

  • Modusoperandi

    “Nothing that I stated was different from what I have been saying for many years. I want strong borders, and I do not support or condone illegal immigration,” Trump said in part.

    “If you were Miss Universe, what would you do to make the world a better place?”

    “I would like to stop all the Mexican rapists…”


    The complaint is just like everything else Trump does, full of empty and irrelevant bluster…

    Yes, but it’s the best, the greatest, most classy bluster.

  • ArtK

    With all due respect to the fine lawyers who post here and the brilliant ones I’ve met IRL, there are a lot of Klaymans in the profession. I’ve been a juror on several trials and everyone of them has featured one (if not two or three) attorneys who I wanted to tell off for being incompetent.

    I suspect that being an attorney for Trump doesn’t require a great deal of intelligence. Putting the boss’ bluster into legalese is about it. It’s likely that anyone who mentioned the Streisand Effect, or the First Rule of Holes or “that case has about a 2% chance of going anywhere — it’s not worth it” isn’t going to keep their job very long.

  • Who Cares

    Well people did say Trump would bring fireworks and work for comedians.

  • whheydt

    Ken White of Popehat is also covering this case. His comments about the defamation claim are…interesting.

  • Deen

    Never mind that Trump is trying to get the government to silence Univision’s freedom of speech.

  • Doc Bill

    Who knows how much Trump is worth? Keith Olberman has maintained for years that he’s broke and that his so-called wealth is a charade of loans, counter loans and financial schemes that gives him the appearance of wealth without actually having any. It would be interesting to see it all laid out.

  • caseloweraz

    IANAL, but I don’t think the possibility that Trump might prevail on the breach-of-contract portion can be ruled out.

  • brucegee1962

    Obviously the freedom of speech stuff is bs, but I’d be interested to know if there’s anything to the breech of contract stuff. I suppose that would depend on the exact wording of the contract. Don’t most contracts have escape clauses, where either party gets to bail for whatever reason and pay a prearranged sum?

  • The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Doc Bill @ 12:

    It’s an old, old saying that it’s just as good to owe a million dollars as to have a million dollars–I guess the same applies even more if it’s billions of dollars.

  • Deen

    @brucegee1962: I would imagine that there are indeed escape clauses, or possibly even penalty clauses in such a contract. But even if not, as the quote points out, the entire contract itself is only worth $13.5 million, nowhere near the $500 million that Trump wants to sue for. And considering I read somewhere that Trump has already sold the rights to some other network, I doubt he could even make a strong case that he’s suffered the full $13.5 million dollar worth of damages. The $500 million is just bullying, nothing more.

  • llewelly

    Trump can’t win the lawsuit. That’s the plan. He’s deliberately martyring himself in the name of racism. If the Harry Enten article I linked in the other thread is right, it will work, as far as raising money and gaining on Jeb in the nomination is concerned. It’s almost certainly quite bad for what comes after the nomination, but does Trump really want to be President? Or has he just decided the Huckabee model is more profitable than being a serial casino bankrupter?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    His lawyer’s had to throw in that nonsense boilerplate about politics and defamation. How else can you claim $500 million in damages on a $13.5 million dollar contract?

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    I glanced over it. Univision agreed to pay the $13.5 million when it terminated the agreement. So Trump’s suit is really based on the bullshit defamation and other claims. It’s a stretch to claim he’s suffered more damages than $13.5 for breach of contract.

  • dingojack

    There’s an interesting local case here that has some parallels.

    Briefly stated:

    1) The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper published an article with the headline ‘Treasurer for sale’ (the ‘Treasurer’ in question was the Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey).

    2) Hockey sued claiming the newspaper article, the headline and associated tweets and on-line materials were defamatory as they implied he was corrupt.

    3) The newspaper refused to fold (so to speak), claiming the article had a defence of truth.

    4) Hockey’s lawyers showed that the Editor had animus toward the Treasurer over another adverse finding against him in regards to the Treasurer. (In which the paper had to retract the article and apologise, publically).

    5) But Hockey’s team couldn’t show that the story implied he was corrupt, merely that the his local Party fund-raising organisation was selling contact with the Treasurer.

    6) The Paper’s lawyers showed that Hockey’s defence (that he had no idea that his time was being sold to lobbyists for money) was extremely weak and not very creditable. (He made a very bad showing on the stand).

    7) The judge found the headline, and tweets reasonably implied the Treasurer was corrupt, but that the article and on-line material did not.

    8) Hockey was awarded a payment of $200,000 in damages, despite the bulk of the claim was not proven by Hockey’s legal team.

    Well it seems it’s possible* that, bearing in mind the bulk of the case was won by the SHM, that Hockey might be ordered to pay some or all of the costs.

    This could mean Hockey wins $200,000, but is ordered to pay several million in costs, a net loss in the order of $1.5M is possible.

    It could be the case with Trump too. It might net him $10M, say, but cost him a lot more in costs and losses. A nice little bonus for the Presidential campaign War-chest in the short-term, but a net loss over all. No doubt the losses would be financed by sweet-heart loans, still, it may come back to bite him later on. A Pyritic victory, a few more like that could seriously cramp Trump’s style for some time to come.



    * note that it has a finite positive probability, but not high likelihood, in reality.