A New York appeals court tossed out a $4 million defamation suit against President Donald Trump from a Republican consultant alleging that the president damaged her career by calling her a “real dummy” on Twitter.
The five-judge panel on the Manhattan appeals court, the Appellate Division First Department, ruled that a lower court’s January decision to dismiss Cheri Jacobus’s lawsuit should stand.
The court noted that the lawsuit “was correctly dismissed in the absence of actionable factual allegations that tended to disparage her in the way of her profession, trade or business.”
The court added that the alleged statements against Trump were “too vague, subjective, and lacking in precise meaning.”
The Republican political strategist filed the multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Trump after a February 2016 CNN appearance where she criticized Trump’s campaign for its lack of transparency.
Trump, after watching the segment, tweeted that Jacobus was “a real dummy” who “begged” his campaign for a job.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
Then-candidate Trump followed up with another tweet, claiming Jacobus went “hostile” after she had not been selected for a job on his campaign, adding that she had “zero credibility.”
Really dumb @CheriJacobus. Begged my people for a job. Turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2016
Jacobus claimed that Trump’s tweets caused her to lose television appearances and incited bullying from his supporters.
A lower court in Manhattan dismissed the consultant’s suit in January, stating that Trump’s tweets would not prevent her from continuing to work as a political consultant.
The court ruled that Trump’s tweets were opinions and not facts.
Jacobus attempted to appeal the lower court’s dismissal, but the panel upheld the lower court’s decision.
Jay Butterman, the attorney who represents the Republican political strategist, said he and his client are looking into the possibility of taking the case to the highest court in New York state — the Court of Appeals.
“It’s not a happy day for democracy in my opinion,” the lawyer said.
Lawrence S. Rosen, Trump’s attorney, said the president is pleased with the outcome of the decision.
“Candidate Trump was certainly within his rights to rebut her attacks and offer his opinion as to what her motivations were,” Rosen added.