Charles Harder: Lawyer Suing Mary Trump

Harder is best known for representing Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) in the Bollea v. Gawker case.[6][7]

In 2007, Harder represented major videogame publisher Ubisoft in a one-week arbitration trial, defeating an $11 million claim by a German videogame producer.[4]

In 2009–2016, Harder represented numerous celebrities in cases over misappropriation of their names and likeness,[8] including Sandra Bullock,[9] George ClooneyBradley Cooper,[10] Jude Law,[11] Mandy Moore,[12] Liam Neeson,[10] Julia Roberts[9] and Reese Witherspoon.[13][14] Harder also won four different ICANN arbitrations for Sandra Bullock,[15] Cameron Diaz,[16] Kate Hudson[17] and Sigourney Weaver,[18] respectively.

In 2011, Harder won an $18 million verdict for Cecchi Gori Pictures, and defeated a multi-million dollar counterclaim, after a four-week trial in Los Angeles state court.[19][20]

In 2017–18, Harder represented Ivan Aguilera, the heir of Mexican pop icon Juan Gabriel, against Univision and Telemundo, in a $100 million defamation suit.[21]

In 2017, Harder threatened to sue the New York Times on behalf of Harvey Weinstein, the day after the Times published the first story about him allegedly engaging in harassment. The lawsuit was never filed and Harder withdrew from the representation the next week.[22]

In 2017, Harder represented First Lady Melania Trump in a defamation case against the Daily Mail, which resulted in a $2.9 million settlement payment to Trump, and a public retraction and apology by the Daily Mail to her.[23] In 2018, he also represented the President in legal demand letters sent to political consultant/media executive Steve Bannon and author Michael Wolff.[24] Harder also represented Jared Kushner in connection with a Vanity Fair article covering the 2017 Special Counsel investigation.[25] He represented the Trump campaign in a legal action taken against Omarosa Manigault Newman following the publication of her book, Unhinged.[26]

In 2018, Harder represented President Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed by Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford). On October 15, 2018, the U.S. District Court granted an anti-SLAPP motion filed by Harder, dismissing the lawsuit with prejudice and awarding President Trump reimbursement of his attorneys fees against Stormy Daniels.[27] On December 11, 2018 the court ordered Stormy Daniels to pay President Trump 75% reimbursement of his attorneys fees or $292,052.33, plus a $1000 sanction on Stormy Daniels as well. “The court’s order,” Harder said, “along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case.” [28]

In 2019, Harder sent a letter to CNN on behalf of President Trump and his campaign claiming CNN was violating the federal Lanham Act by marketing itself as “fair and balanced” after multiple CNN employees reportedly admitted the company was strongly biased against the President.[29]

In 2019, Harder sued Oakley on behalf of US Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, for using his name and image beyond the term permitted by an earlier contract between them.[30]

‘The Five’ on Jeff Bezos’ public battle for his private life

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos accuses the National Enquirer of trying to blackmail with compromising photos unless the Washington Post ended an investigation into how the magazine obtained private texts related to his divorce

After Trump Seeks to Block Book, Publisher Hastens Release

Through a long career in real estate and entertainment, Mr. Trump has repeatedly threatened lawsuits against authors, journalists and others who angered him, but often has not followed through, and it was unclear whether he would in this case.

.. Mr. Wolff did not reply to a request for comment, but on Wednesday night said by email that he was “wholly comfortable with my numerous sources.”

.. Most presidents have avoided legal confrontations over unflattering publications out of fear of giving them more publicity and promoting sales, but it is not unprecedented. Former President Jimmy Carter, shortly after leaving the White House, threatened to sue The Washington Post over a gossip column item asserting that his administration had bugged Blair House, the government guest quarters, while Nancy and Ronald Reagan stayed there before the 1981 inauguration. The Post retracted the item and Mr. Carter dropped the matter.

.. Charles J. Harder, the president’s lawyer, has represented Mrs. Trump and other high-profile figures in cases against the news media. Based in Beverly Hills, Calif., he won Hulk Hogan’s landmark invasion-of-privacy case against Gawker Media and until recently represented Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul.

.. Mr. Harder threatened to sue The New York Times over an article documenting sexual harassment by Mr. Weinstein. But Mr. Harder no longer represents Mr. Weinstein, and no lawsuit has been filed.

.. In an author’s note, Mr. Wolff writes that many of the accounts that he collected “are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue.” He said he sometimes “let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them,”

.. Mr. Harder cited no specific statements that he judged untrue.

.. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain denied suggesting to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that British intelligence might have spied on Mr. Trump’s campaign.

.. Asked on Thursday for examples of potentially libelous inaccuracies in the book, Ms. Sanders cited only an anecdote in which Mr. Trump seemed not to recognize the name of former Speaker John A. Boehner

Floyd Abrams Sees Trump’s Anti-Media Tweets as Double-Edged Swords

His Twitter trail could be a gift to lawyers for the news industry during leak investigations into articles that made the president mad enough to pick up his Android and tap, Tap, TAP!

It could provide great grist for legal arguments that the investigations are less about prosecuting damaging leaks than they are about punishing journalists.

.. his new book, “The Soul of the First Amendment,” which he called “really a story of American exceptionalism.” It argues that the United States’ protections for free speech are the best in the world, at least as of now.

.. he helped argue the conservative side of the Citizens United case, which allowed corporations and unions to spend more freely in elections.

.. things have been much worse. There were days when censorship was rampant and real reporting could land you in prison, right here in the United States. For instance, as Mr. Abrams’s book notes, it was not all that atypical when, in 1901, a Chicago court sentenced the managing editor and a reporter at The Chicago American to jail for an article that was critical of one of its decisions.

.. by the second half of the last century, the courts had begun to view “the First Amendment in an expansive and generally highly protective way.” It started with liberal jurists and eventually spread to the conservative jurists as well

.. Gawker, which a Florida jury hit with a $140 million verdict in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit last year. Without the financial wherewithal to fight on through the appeals process, its owners went into bankruptcy and sold to Univision.

Hulk Hogan’s Lawyers Have Made Suing Gawker Their ‘Bread And Butter’

Harder had made moves to start his own practice. With plans to take some of his clients with him, he teamed up with Mirell, a First Amendment expert who spent 32 years at Loeb & Loeb LLP, and Jeffrey Abrams, a celebrity estates specialist who worked with Harder at Wolf Rifkin.

.. while Harder was the face of Hogan’s Hollywood legal team, Mirell was the brains.

.. Gawker has been sued at least 11 times in federal courts since 2013. Harder’s current firm has worked for Gawker’s opposition in at least five of those lawsuits

.. In an interviewwith The New York Times, Thiel said that he has spent an estimated $10 million to fund lawsuits against Gawker.

“It’s safe to say this is not the only one,” Thiel told the Times, when asked which other cases he has backed.

.. When asked why Harder Mirell would get involved in such a suit despite its focus on celebrity clients, one person who used to work for the firm speculated it was a matter of following the money. Given the involvement of a third party who was financing the Hogan suit, the firm likely had an incentive to find more cases against Gawker.

..

Gawker founder Nick Denton also had his own pointed inquiries, penning an open letter to Thiel with 10 “immediate questions” for the Silicon Valley billionaire. “Is your goal to bankrupt, buy, or wound Gawker Media?” Denton wrote.

Hulk Hogan’s Lead Lawyer Explains How His Team Beat “Arrogant,” “Defiant” Gawker (Guest Column)

We then deposed Denton, Daulerio, several company employees and expert witnesses. Gawker’s counsel did not adequately prepare their witnesses, and Daulerio, among others, made admissions that severely undermined the “newsworthy” defense and would later inflame the jury with their arrogance and defi­ance. Gawker took a “scorched earth” approach, deposing Bollea for three days, Bubba Clem for two days ..

.. Gawker sought invasive questioning regarding Bollea’s sex life with all partners throughout his lifetime, his entire medical history (including eight spinal surgeries) and every financial document in his possession. Judge Pamela Campbell in the state trial court placed reasonable limits on the scope of inquiry. My firm sought and obtained Gawker’s financials, advertising prac­tices, internal emails and chats regarding Bollea, all of the hundreds of cease-and-desist demands received by Gawker Media from the preceding three years, and Gawker’s complex (and dubious) corporate and tax structuring, including a parent company in the Cayman Islands and a sister company in Budapest, Hungary. (The arrangement is peculiar given that the company and its owner, Denton — a dual citizen of Hungary and the U.K. — wrap themselves in the U.S. Constitution to try to evade liability for their tortious activity.)

.. Early on in Bollea v. Gawker, we heard that the person who sent the video to Gawker simultaneously sought to extort Bollea with the same and additional sex tape footage

.. On cross, Denton admitted the Bollea video was “pornography” and testified about his former pornography website, Fleshbot.com, which he sold earlier the same year that Gawker.com posted the Bollea sex video.

.. (1) Gawker.com increased in value by $15 million based on increased traffic to the site during the six months the video was posted there, according to our economist expert; (2) Bollea was entitled to a market-value license fee of $35 million, based on an analysis from our Internet expert that 7-plus million people watched the video on the web (two-thirds of them on porn sites), and the minimum price for access to an authorized celebrity sex video (at VividCeleb.com, the largest of these sites) is $4.95 for a four-day trial membership, thus additional damages of $35 million; (3) emotional distress damage

Gawker’s Gone. Long Live Gawker.

But even if you avoided Gawker, you can’t escape its influence. Elements of its tone, style, sensibility, essential business model and its work flow have colonized just about every other media company, from upstarts like BuzzFeed and Vox to incumbents such as CNN, The New Yorker and The New York Times.

.. The most important innovation Gawker brought to news was its sense that the internet allowed it to do anything.

.. Though we wrote online, in most ways we were really putting out a relatively fast paced magazine, just without ink and paper.

.. They offered a template for blowing up everything about how news was created and delivered. This was most obvious in Gawker’s tone — it was conversational, written in the manner of your supersmart, kind of funny, foul-mouthed friend, rather than the newspeak that pervaded much of the industry.

.. In the print era, writers were always constrained by a lack of space and audience. There were lots of potential stories to tell, but they could work only on the ones that commanded enough of an audience to justify the physical space they were devoting to it.

.. “Posts can be anything — inspired by a flickr photo, a blog post, news story, something you overheard, something you’ve always wondered.” It adds: “A good post is almost always a short post” and “get right to the point” and “tell the story in the first sentence.”

.. Gawker’s second innovation was to cultivate niches.

.. “Just for one example, the relentless assault we made on traditional women’s media had an effect,” said Anna Holmes, Jezebel’s founding editor. “There was a gradual process, but it was undeniable after a while that they were responding to and really mimicking what we were doing.”

.. it’s obvious that Gawker inculcated a more antagonistic, more suspicious tendency in the press, especially toward the most powerful people in politics, business and the media

.. It sped media up to an insane pace. After Gawker, you didn’t take nights and weekends off. You couldn’t publish once a week. The internet was a beast that always needed feeding, and it demanded ever-hotter, ever-more-outrageous takes.

.. Some of Gawker’s worst practices — reflexively criticizing people without giving them the benefit of the doubt, weaponizing internet outrage against ordinary people who didn’t merit it — have now become de rigueur online.