A veteran Republican operative filed a defamation suit against Donald Trump and his campaign manager in New York on Monday over statements the pair made earlier this year portraying her as a spurned job-seeker with a grudge against the Republican front-runner.
The suit, brought in New York County by communications strategist Cheri Jacobus, seeks $4 million in damages as well as unspecified punitive damages and court costs. It alleges that Trump and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski falsely and knowingly impugned her professional reputation in retaliation for her criticisms of Trump’s performance as a candidate.
The case again casts a cloud of legal trouble over Trump’s campaign just four days after a prosecutor in Florida announced his decision not to pursue a criminal battery case against Lewandowski for an unrelated March incident in which he grabbed Michelle Fields, then a reporter for Breitbart, by the arm.
The complaint stems from comments Lewandowski and Trump made in late January and early February following Jacobus’ January 26 assertion on CNN that Trump, in interviews and debates, “comes off like a third grader faking his way through an oral report on current affairs.”
The next day, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Lewandowski said that Jacobus “came to the office on multiple occasion trying to get a job from the Trump campaign, and she wasn’t hired clearly she went off and was upset by that.”
Following a February 2 CNN appearance in which Jacobus criticized Trump’s claim that he does not get enough credit for self-funding his campaign, the businessman tweeted “@cherijacobus begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy!”
On Feb. 5, two days after a lawyer for Jacobus sent Trump and Lewandowski a cease-and-desist letter in response to those comments, and one day after POLITICO reported on the letter, Trump tweeted, “Really dumb @CheriJacobus. Begged my people for a job. Turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility!”
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