Mark Pomerantz used to be a federal prosecutor in Manhattan but left his job over District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s failure to pursue a case against Donald Trump when he (Pomerantz) felt there was more than sufficient evidence to find the ex-president guilty.
Now, through a high-profile lawyer, Trump is warning him not to repeat that opinion publicly.
Trump has reportedly hired Joe Tacopina, a Fox News talking head and trial attorney, to pursue the former prosecutor over his resignation letter, in which he expressed opinions that Trump “is guilty of numerous felony violations” and that he and others “believe that the prosecution would prevail if charges were brought.”
In the letter, which was leaked to the public, he uses the phrase “I believe” multiple times, as well as “in my view,” denoting his personal opinion as separate from any official determination.
Bear in mind Trump has just been hit with sanctions for his failed RICO lawsuit against Hillary Clinton, and part of the ruling dismissing that suit was an affirmation that Clinton and others expressing negative opinions of Trump fell under protected First Amendment rights to voice opinions.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a court will see the complaint against Pomerantz in the same light, but it does make for awkward timing when Trump has just been scolded for frivolous lawsuits.
However, Tacopina, in a warning letter, tells Pomerantz that the former president has heard he is writing a book that will include these same “defamatory statements,” and threatens to “aggressively pursue all legal remedies” and to “punish you and your publisher” if he dares to go forward.
In a copy of the letter obtained by TMZ, he adds:
“Here, your opinion which was disseminated to the public…can only be reasonably understood as implying they were based on undisclosed facts…Under the circumstances, couching your opinion as a belief by no means insulates you from liability.”
It’s hardly the first time Trump has tried, or been accused of trying, to prevent one of his critics from writing a book about him.
His former attorney, Michael Cohen, in fact, alleges that it was for this same reason that he was remanded to prison after being released.
When former National Security Advisor John Bolton was writing a book, the Trump Administration even sued to prevent it from happening.
In the case of Pomerantz’s letter, the full text was published by the New York Times, but it’s not known who passed the newspaper a copy of it.
A book, of course, would be a more public statement of opinion, but it remains to be seen whether a court will agree that a former prosecutor’s inside knowledge prohibits him from expressing such an opinion.
Trump, who actually withdrew one of his lawsuits (against New York Attorney General Letitia James) in the past week after being hit with fines for the aforementioned Clinton case, seems willing to take the risk of a further smack-down in order to make a likely-futile attempt to stop this book from being published.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.