September 17, 2021

Judge rules lawsuit against Donald Trump Jr. can proceed

West Virginia Judge John Copenhaver ruled Wednesday that a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump Jr. would be allowed to continue, according to a report in The Blaze.

The suit is being brought by Don Blankenship, a failed Constitution Party candidate for West Virginia’s Senate seat and someone that Trump mentioned unfavorably in his tweets. 

The suit stamps from comments made during the 2018 race for West Virginia’s Senate seat, which Blankenship eventually lost after Trump Jr. urged followers not to vote for Blankenship.

The then-first son also referred to Blankenship as a “felon” in his tweets, which was untrue as Blankenship has never been found guilty of a felony. He has, however, been found guilty of a misdemeanor. Blankenship’s crime was involving a 2010 coal-mining disaster but was not pursued as a felony charge. 

Copenhaver, a Gerald Ford appointee, ruled Wednesday that the defamation suit over the tweets could continue after Blankenship filed a lawsuit in civil court against Trump Jr., alleging defamation false light invasion of privacy, and civil conspiracy.

“The defamation of Mr. Blankenship as a ‘felon’ has so smeared his reputation that he has been prevented from pursuing other businesses and opportunities and generating similar returns of billions of dollars,” read the lawsuit against Trump Jr.

Trump Jr. filed a motion to dismiss the suit and argued that his statement was an opinion rather than an assertion of fact and that the tweet was sent to one user on tweeter, not Blankenship. 

“Based on this article that Trump, Jr. himself cites within his own quote tweet,” Copenhaver wrote, “there is a plausible inference that he had knowledge of the plaintiff’s conviction history in association with the mine explosion, and in particular that the conviction was a misdemeanor, not a felony.”

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