|(photo: Gage Skidmore)|
Trump’s tax returns were published Tuesday by DCReport.org, a website operated by David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter. They were simultaneously aired on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”
Legal experts say any case would be a long-shot given First Amendment protections for journalists and an important Supreme Court precedent that dates back to the famous 1971 “Pentagon Papers” case. Trump would also have to show that the journalists were complicit in stealing his tax returns—which both Johnston and Maddow have denied.
“Trump’s lawyers could try and sue but they will get the crap kicked out of them in court,” said veteran white collar attorney Stanley Arkin. “It’s the First Amendment. What are they going to sue them for? Stealing the returns? Nobody made any money out of it. Nobody was bribed.”
White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks would neither confirm nor deny the president’s interest in a possible lawsuit against MSNBC or Johnston.
In a statement, MSNBC told FOX Business: “There is no legal prohibition against journalists publishing these tax returns. It is protected by the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent.