Trump Pays Nearly $400K Legal Bill to The New York Times After Losing Tax Documents Lawsuit

Donald Trump has paid nearly $400,000 to The New York Times, covering the legal expenses incurred by the newspaper due to his unsuccessful legal challenge concerning the exposure of his tax details in a 2018 publication.

Court’s Decision

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Last month, a judge mandated the former president to make payment after his lawsuit was nullified in May 2023, asserting the article’s protection under the New York Constitution. 

Pulitzer Prize Winners

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The investigative work by journalists David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for their examination of Trump’s financial dealings.

Announcement of Payment

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“Donald Trump has paid the $392,638.69 he owed The New York Times for legal fees connected to a frivolous lawsuit he brought against the paper, two of my colleagues and me,” Susanne Craig announced in an X post.

Lawsuit Background

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Donald Trump’s 2021 lawsuit against the Times and its journalists alleged relentless pursuit of Mary Trump, his niece, as a source and persuasion to hand over confidential tax records. 

Settlement Agreement

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He contended that the reporters were aware of her prior settlement agreement preventing disclosure obtained during a dispute over Fred Trump’s estate.

Challenging Trump’s Claim


The Times’ reporting challenged Donald Trump’s claims of self-made wealth, revealing how Fred Trump, his father, had provided him with at least $413 million over decades, employing tax avoidance strategies. Mary Trump disclosed herself as the source in a 2020 book.

A Fraudulent Corporation


According to The Times, Donald Trump and his father dodged gift and inheritance taxes by establishing a fraudulent corporation and underreporting asset values to tax authorities. The report drew from over 100,000 pages of financial documents, including confidential tax returns.

$100 Million in Damages

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Seeking $100 million in damages, Donald Trump accused Mary Trump, the Times, and its journalists of harboring a personal vendetta against him and orchestrating a scheme to obtain and exploit confidential records for their benefit.

“Criminal, Cruel, and Traitorous”

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Mary Trump is the daughter of Donald Trump’s late brother, Fred Trump Jr., who passed away in 1981. She has been a vocal critic of her uncle, describing him as “criminal, cruel, and traitorous.”

Judicial Ruling

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Last year, the judge dismissed the claim against the Times, stating, “because The Times’ purpose in reporting on a story of a high public interest constitutes justification as a matter of law.”

Anti-SLAPP Law

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The judge cited recent amendments to New York’s anti-SLAPP law, which enables defendants to swiftly dismiss lawsuits targeting actions safeguarded by the First Amendment, as the basis for dismissing the defendants and awarding their attorneys’ fees.

Accountability Demand

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Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, argued the journalists exceeded lawful news-gathering boundaries and demanded accountability.

“Must be Held Accountable”

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Hibba said, “All journalists must be held accountable when they commit civil wrongs.”

Protecting Press Freedom

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Times spokesperson Charlie Stadtlander lauded the anti-SLAPP statute. “This decision shows that the state’s newly amended anti-SLAPP statute can be a powerful force for protecting press freedom,” Stadtlander said

A Clear Message

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He added, “The court has sent a message to those who want to misuse the judicial system to try to silence journalists.”

Bank Fraud Judgment 

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On Monday, Trump lodged an official appeal against a recent $464 million bank fraud judgment. 

Defamation Case

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This move follows closely on his legal team’s request to delay enforcement of a separate ruling requiring Trump to pay $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll for defamation. Carroll had accused Trump of sexual assault, which he denied.  

May Ruling

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Trump was previously directed to pay Carroll $5 million in a ruling last May.

Four Criminal Cases 

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In addition to his civil legal troubles, Trump confronts 91 felony charges across four distinct criminal cases.

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