Media lawyer for Melania Trump, Hulk Hogan wants law changed to make it easier to sue the media
Charles Harder tells The Hollywood Reporter that ‘I think the actual malice standard is too stringent’ and that ‘it has created huge problems for a public figure who is defamed’
In a Hollywood Reporter interview, media attorney Charles Harder said he hoped the law would be changed to make it easier for lawsuits to be brought and won against the media.
Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in the suit that led to the eventual bankruptcy and sale of Gawker Media said the current standard makes it too hard to prove malice on the part of the media.
“I think the actual malice standard is too stringent,” said Harder. “If you look at Justice [Byron] White’s opinion in a Supreme Court case 20 years after New York Times v. Sullivan, he wrote a dissent and said we all made a mistake, that it has gotten to a point where it has created huge problems for a public figure who is defamed to do anything about it.”
Charles Harder at left, during the Hulk Hogan/Gawker Media trial
Harder is currently representing Melania Trump in a suit against the Daily Mail and blogger Webster Tarpley over a story that claimed the wife of the candidate had once been an escort.
“The conduct of Daily Mail was despicable, abhorrent, intentional, malicious and oppressive, and thus justifies an award of punitive damages,” the complaint states.
My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2016
Media reporters have expressed concern that Harder is looking to stiffle freedom of the press, a charge Harder denies in the interview.
“I’m anything but the enemy of a free press. I believe very strongly in a free press,” Harder told Eriq Gardner of THR. “But I don’t believe in a reckless press. The First Amendment isn’t unlimited.”