Donald Trump beats libel lawsuit over tweets directed at female political strategist

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Donald Trump says he wants to "open up" libel laws, but a few days before he becomes the next President of the United States, he became fortunate that such laws place high burdens on plaintiffs. A New York Supreme Court judge on Tuesday agreed to dismiss a defamation suit brought by Cheryl Jacobus, a political strategist who Trump had tweeted had "begged" him for a job and went "hostile" when she was turned down.

Jacobus sued Trump and his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski over comments made in the midst of a heated Republican primary. Seeking $4 million in damages, she alleged in her complaint that the Trump campaign tried to recruit her in May 2015, even attempting to entice her with the prospect of a post-campaign job at Fox News. She says Lewandowski told her that Trump was very close with Roger Ailes. She further claimed of coming to the judgment that working for Trump was untenable because Lewandowski was a "powder keg."

In January 2016, she appeared on CNN to discuss Trump's decision to skip a primary debate on Fox News and opined that Trump was "using the Megyn Kelly manufactured kerfuffle as an excuse." A few days later, she returned to Don Lemon's show and was dubious about Trump's claims of self-funding his campaign.

This may have set Trump off. In one tweet, he wrote how he "turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility."

Look back at the moment Trump received the Electoral College vote:

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Trump receives electoral college vote
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Trump receives electoral college vote
Pennsylvania elector Carolyn Bunny Welsh holds her ballot for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump before casting it at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Pennsylvania electors cast their ballots for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
People protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as electors gather to cast their votes for U.S. president at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. Pennsylvania's twenty electors are assumed to be committed to Trump by virtue of his having won the popular vote in the state, but the vote that is usually routine takes place this year amid allegations of Russian hacking to try to influence the election. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Pennsylvania electors bow their heads in prayer before casting their votes for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Protesters rally outside as Michigan's 16 presidential electors meet at the State Capitol building to cast formal votes for the president and vice president of the United States in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Electoral college tellers count the ballots Pennsylvania electors cast for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Pennsylvania electors take their oath of office before casting their votes for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump hold signs in the Senate gallery as Michigan's electors cast formal votes for the president and vice president of the United States in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Activists demonstrate against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump ahead of the meeting of the Electoral College at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed
North Carolina's Thirteenth District Elector Ann Sullivan wears clothes adorned with patriotic and Republican Party symbols after the state's Electoral College affirmed their votes for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in the State Capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Protesters shout in anger from the gallery at Pennsylvania electors after they cast their votes for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
People protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump as electors gather to cast their votes for U.S. president at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. Pennsylvania's twenty electors are assumed to be committed to Trump by virtue of his having won the popular vote in the state, but the vote that is usually routine takes place this year amid allegations of Russian hacking to try to influence the election. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Activists demonstrate against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump ahead of the meeting of the Electoral College at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Khursheed
Pennsylvania elector Carolyn Bunny Welsh smiles as she returns to her seat after casting her ballot for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
North Carolina's Electoral College representatives pose for a group photo after formally voting for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in the State Capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
North Carolina's Electoral College representatives sign the Certificates of Vote after affirming their votes, all for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, at a ceremony in the State Capitol building in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S., December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
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In response to the defamation lawsuit, Trump moved to dismiss on the basis that the statements were "pure opinion," not susceptible to any defamatory meaning because they couldn't be proven true or . His attorney also pointed the judge's attention to the hyperbolic nature of Twitter, and wrote that when plaintiffs like Jacobus have access to the media, they face higher burdens because of their opportunity to rebut points.

This led to a noteworthy hearing in October where the judge heard Trump's attorney, Lawrence Rosen, say that "perception is reality" and the plaintiff's attorney, Jay Butterman, nod to Nazi Germany with a warning that the rights of individuals could be trampled upon just for voicing some criticism of someone in power.

Today, New York judge Barbara Jaffe released her decision granting Trump's motion to dismiss.

"Trump's characterization of plaintiff as having 'begged' for a job is reasonably viewed as a loose, figurative, and hyperbolic reference to plaintiff's state of mind and is therefore, not susceptible of objective verification," writes Jaffe. "To the extent that the word 'begged' can be proven to be arepresentation of plaintiff's interest in the position, the defensive tone of the tweet, having followed plaintiff's negative commentary about Trump, signals to readers that plaintiff and Trump were engaged in a petty quarrel."

The judge explores the context of the tweets and how Trump has used the medium. She notes "Trump's regular use of Twitter to circulate his positions and skewer his opponents and others who criticize him, including journalists and media organizations whose coverage he finds objectionable."

"His tweets about his critics, necessarily restricted to 140 characters or less, are rife with vague and simplistic insults such as 'loser' or 'total loser' or 'totally biased loser,' 'dummy' or 'dope' or 'dumb,' 'zero/no credibility,' 'crazy' or 'wacko' and 'disaster,' all deflecting serious consideration," she continues.

"And yet," the judge adds, "the context of a national presidential primary and a candidate's strategic and almost exclusive use of Twitter to advance his views arguably distinguish this case from those where heated rhetoric, with or without the use of social media, was held to constitute communications that cannot be taken seriously.... These circumstances raise some concern that some may avoid liability by conveying positions in small Twitter parcels, as opposed to by doing so in a more formal and presumably actionable manner..."

The judge then writes that nevertheless, and "with the spirit of the First Amendment," she finds a reasonable reader would recognize Trump's schoolyard type squabble as rendering statements of "opinion, even if some of the statements, viewed in isolation, could be found to convey facts."

The judge concludes, "Thus, although the intemperate tweets are clearly intended to belittle and demean plaintiff, any reasonable reading of them makes it 'impossible to conclude that [what defendants said or implied]... could subject... [plaintiff] to contempt or aversion, induce any unsavory opinion of [her] or reflect adversely upon [her] work,' or otherwise damage her reputation as a partisan political consultant and commentator... Indeed, to some, truth itself has been lost in the cacophony of online and Twitter verbiage to such a degree that it seems to roll of the national consciousness like water off a duck's back."

Related: See Donald Trump throughout his life:

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Donald Trump through the years
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Donald Trump through the years
Donald Trump pauses in his apartment 5/20 after receiving the news that the Board of Estimate unanimously approved a 40-year tax abatement plan. Under the plan Trump will purchase and refurbish the Commodore Hotel, which closed into doors 5/18, from the Penn Central Transportation Corp. In return for his $10-million-dollar purchase and up to $100 million face-lifting investment, Trump will have no real estate taxes for 40 years.

(Bettmann via Getty Images)

Real estate developer Donald Trump announces intentions to build a $100 million dollar Regency Hotel.

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Donald Trump with Alfred Eisenpreis, New York City Economic Development Administrator. Sketch of new 1,400 room Renovation project of Commodore Hotel.

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Donald Trump stands behind architect's model of City Hall Plaza.

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Donald Trump attends 38th Annual Horatio Alger Awards Dinner on May 10, 1985 at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.

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Donald Trump Jr. and Donald Trump during 1988 U.S. Open - September 3, 1988 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York, United States.

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Ivana Trump and Donald Trump during Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks Fight at Trump Plaza - June 27, 1988 at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

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(Photo credit should read SWERZEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka Trump during Maybelline Presents 1991 Look of the Year at Plaza Hotel in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump attends 'Hoop-La' Special Olympics Basketball Game on June 25, 1992 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

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Donald Trump and Joan Rivers during Opening of The Rose Room in the Plaza Hotel at Plaza Hotel Rose Room in New York City, New York, United States.

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Donald Trump touches 07 April 1993 Marla Maples stomach to confirm published reports that the actress is pregnant with his child. The two arrived for Maples appearance in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies'.

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US business tycoon Donald Trump enters the PLaza Hotel in New York past supporters 21 December 1994. Hundreds of supporters showed up at a news conference where Trump denied a New York newspaper report that the Sultan of Brunei had bid 300 million USD to buy the Manhattan hotel.

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Donald Trump and Christine Whitman during Opening of New Warner Bros. Store in Trump Plaza Casino at Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States.

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Donald Trump attends Marc Jacobs Fashion Show on April 4, 1995 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

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New York real estate giant Donald Trump poses in his Trump Tower office on a giant letter 'T' on May 8, 1996.

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Portrait of Marla Maples and her husband, businessman Donald Trump, with their daughter Tiffany, as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1996.

(Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Ron Delsner backstage at a KISS concert at Madison Squre Garden in New York City on July 25, 1996.

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Celine Dion, husband Rene, Donald Trump & Ivanka Trump

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Donald Trump at Madison Square Garden

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US tycoon Donald Trump arrives to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, on February 27, 2015.

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Real estate mogul and billionaire Donald Trump attends Golf legend Jack Nicklaus' Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda March 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. Trump announed on March 18 that he has launched a presidential exploratory committee.

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Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus.

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump poses for a photo after an interview with Reuters in his office in Trump Tower, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., May 17, 2016.

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(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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