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Trump’s Pricey Legal Tab: A $393,000 Lesson in Suing The New York Times

Credit: New York Times Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

In the latest episode of “As The Legal World Turns,” former President Donald Trump finds himself writing a hefty check – almost $400,000 in legal fees – to The New York Times and a trio of its reporters. It’s like ordering a luxury yacht and then realizing you’ve only got a dinghy’s budget.

The backdrop of this financial saga is a lawsuit as tangled as a bowl of spaghetti. Trump took The New York Times and reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow, and Russ Buettner to court over a Pulitzer-winning 2018 story about the Trump family’s wealth and tax shenanigans. Think of it as a game of Monopoly where someone’s not too happy about landing on ‘Income Tax.’

Flash forward to May, and The Times and its reporters were dropped from the lawsuit faster than a hot potato. It turns out Trump’s beef was with his niece, Mary Trump, who he claimed spilled the tax beans in violation of a family truce… er, settlement agreement. He’s chasing a cool $100 million in damages, which is not exactly chump change, even for a billionaire.

Now, let’s talk numbers. New York Judge Robert Reed, with a calculator in hand, declared that $392,638.69 was a “reasonable” legal bill for this rollercoaster of a case. Trump’s lawyers, on the other hand, thought this number was more inflated than a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. They argued that these “exorbitant” costs needed a serious trim.

The Times’ spokesperson, Danielle Rhoades Ha, couldn’t resist a bit of a victory lap, saying the ruling was a loud-and-clear message against those trying to use the courts as a journalist-silencing machine. Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, expressed her disappointment like someone who just lost a game of legal Battleship but vowed to continue the fight against Mary Trump.

And what about the reporters, the stars of this legal drama? Susanne Craig gave a digital thumbs up emoji on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. It’s the 21st-century equivalent of a Wild West gunslinger blowing smoke off the tip of their gun after a duel.

In the end, this story is a mix of family drama, legal wrangling, and a dash of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism. It’s a reminder that in the courtroom, just like in Vegas, the house often wins. Trump’s legal gamble has turned into a nearly $400,000 reality check, proving that sometimes, truth can be stranger (and more expensive) than fiction.