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On Cruz ‘Affairs,’ Trump Forgot All The Times National Enquirer Got Sued For Getting it WRONG


Donald Trump, via ABC screengrabIn another bizarre twist that is the 2016 Republican election, Ted Cruz is being forced to respond to a National Enquirer article that accused him of having affairs with various different mistresses.  Cruz quickly fired back on his Facebook page saying that the attacks are “garbage” and the smears are “completely false.” He claims Donald Trump enlisted his friends at the National Enquirer to do “his bidding” and get the story published. Trump denies planting the story, saying in a statement: “And while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz.”

It may be true that the National Enquirer has had their fair share of scoops that turn out to be true, but, let’s be clear here, the newspaper’s articles aren’t exactly placed upon any journalistic pedestal. Perhaps, Mr. Trump forgot about all the times the paper got sued for getting it wrong.  A quick search of the federal database reveals that The National Enquirer was named as a defendant in about 75 cases since 1986.  Not all of those cases are for false statements/invasion of privacy, but some of them are. (That number also doesn’t count the cases filed in state courts). Of course, the Enquirer employs a strong legal team, and many of these cases ultimately get dismissed. But some, as you can see below, were settled with the newspaper admitting they were duped.

Here’s a few examples:

  • In 2014, David Bar Katz , who found actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman dead, filed a $50 million lawsuit against the National Enquirer after the paper reported that the two men were gay lovers, and that Katz witnessed Hoffman freebasing cocaine. In court records obtained by E! News, Katz’s attorney called the story “a complete fabrication.” The paper and Mr. Katz reportedly came to a settlement agreement about three weeks later.  The Enquirer was forced to buy a full-page advertisement in The New York Times where they admitted they were duped by a person claiming to be Mr. Katz.
  • In 2012, Natalee Holloway’s mother sued the National Enquirer saying that the tabloid published false stories to profit from her daughter’s 2005 disappearance. The lawsuit said: “Defendants purposely avoided learning the truth by, among other things, failing to attempt to interview many individuals who could confirm or deny the things stated in the headlines, articles, and statements and captured in the photographs.” In 2013, the two parties reach an undisclosed settlement agreement
  • In 2011, a flight attendant for Arnold Schwarznegger sued the National Enquirer (along with Gawker and the Daily Mail) after they claimed she had a “love-child” with Schwarznegger. She says the Enquirer falsely told friends that he was the father of her son, according to Courthouse News. The case was eventually dismissed.
  • In 1976, there was a famous case filed by singer Carol Burnett. Burnett said that the newspaper fabricated an article that said she was intoxicated during an encounter at a restaurant with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, according to The New York Times. A jury awarded Burnett $1.6 million, but the judgement was later reduced — and then she agreed to an out of court settlement.

While certainly the Cruz affair accusations are an intriguing headline, Donald Trump might want to wait for a better source before he goes all in on this particular line of attack.

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Rachel Stockman is President of Law&Crime which includes Law&Crime Productions, Law&Crime Network and Under her watch, the company has grown from just a handful of people to a robust production company and network producing dozens of true crime shows a year in partnership with major networks. She also currently serves as Executive Producer of Court Cam, a hit show on A&E, and I Survived a Crime, a new crime show premiering on A&E this fall. She also oversees production of a new daily syndicated show Law&Crime Daily, which is produced in conjunction with Litton Entertainment. In addition to these shows, her network and production company produce programs for Facebook Watch, Cineflix and others. She has spent years covering courts and legal issues, and was named Atlanta Press Club's 'Rising Star' in 2014. Rachel graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Yale Law School.