Literary group sues Trump for stifling free speech

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Literary and human rights organization PEN American Center is suing President Trump for violating the First Amendment and “his oath to uphold the Constitution,” The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The organization, which is comprised of thousands of authors and journalists, cited a number of examples of “official acts” by the president that it said had violated free speech protections in a suit filed on Tuesday.

{mosads}“President Trump has First Amendment rights and is free to criticize the press vehemently, but he is not free to use the power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it,” the complaint states.

PEN cited reports of Trump’s interference in the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger and past threats he made against Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.

PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a recent interview with the AP that the president has moved beyond controversial rhetoric like “fake news” and “enemy of the people” and that there is now “widespread concern that the president is actually extracting reprisals on the media for coverage he considers unfavorable.”

The organization is seeking for the president to be enjoined from “directing or ordering any officer, employee, agency, or other agent or instrumentality of the United States government to take any action against any person or entity with intent to retaliate against, intimidate, or otherwise constrain speech critical of him or his Administration.”

It also states that it is not seeking any money aside from “costs, including attorneys’ fees,” and other “relief as the Court deems just and proper.” 

The PEN American Center has long criticized Trump as a bully and user of hate speech throughout his presidency. It has also organized petitions and established a Press Freedom Incentive Fund since Trump was elected to mobilize communities around press freedom.

Tags Donald Trump first amendment Lawsuit Pen American Center

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