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Lincoln Project attorney on billboards lawsuit threat: 'Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere'

The Lincoln Project, a prominent anti-Trump Republican group, is defending its right to erect billboards in Times Square critical of Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpDC attorney general: Ivanka Trump 'highly misleading' on lawsuit deposition Trump pardon scandal would doom his 2024 campaign Ivanka Trump slams lawsuit as example of 'vindictiveness & waste of taxpayer dollars' MORE and Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerMary Trump doesn't think Trump will run in 2024 Trump pardon scandal would doom his 2024 campaign Enforcing the Presidential Records Act is essential for preserving our democracy's transparency, history MORE, noting they are both public officials, after an attorney for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE's daughter and her husband threatened to sue

“You boldly predict that the result of your lawsuit ‘will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages.’ Please peddle your scare tactics elsewhere. The Lincoln Project will not be intimidated by such empty bluster,” Matthew Sanderson, an attorney for The Lincoln Project, wrote in a letter to Marc Kasowitz, who represents Ivanka Trump and Kushner.

“Your clients are no longer mere Upper East Side socialites, able to sue at the slightest offense to their personal sensitivities,” he added. “Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump are public officials. They have been public officials since President Trump, in a gross act of nepotism, awarded Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump senior White House positions in 2017.” 

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“The placement of Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump in these high-level White House offices has been disastrous for Americans everywhere,” Sanderson continued. “Now it is also devastating to the prospects of your would-be lawsuit.”

Ivanka Trump is a senior adviser to the president. Kushner is also a senior White House adviser.

One of the billboards at the center of the legal back-and-forth depicts the president’s daughter smiling while standing next to figures showing the number of Americans and New Yorkers who have died from COVID-19. 

Next to that billboard in Manhattan, another shows Kushner, also smiling, next to the quote “[New Yorkers] are going to suffer and that’s their problem.” That quote was attributed to Kushner from a source cited in a Vanity Fair story from last month.

Kasowitz blasted the billboards in a letter to The Lincoln Project on Friday and said they were “false, malicious and defamatory.”

“Of course, Mr. Kushner never made any such statement, Ms. Trump never made any such gesture and the Lincoln Project’s representations that they did are an outrageous and shameful libel,” the attorney stated in the letter. “If these billboards are not immediately removed, we will sue you for what will doubtless be enormous compensatory and punitive damages.” 

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Sanderson, however, claimed that the billboards are “entirely accurate” and that The Lincoln Project “explicitly cited Vanity Fair as the source for Mr. Kushner’s featured statement.” 

“Please contact us again if at some point you somehow succeed in convincing Vanity Fair to retract its article,” he stated.

He added that Kasowitz’s assertion about Ivanka Trump never making “any such gesture” is “similarly incorrect.”

“While serving as a White House official and in violation of federal ethics rules, Ms. Trump infamously endorsed a commercial product this past July by posting a picture of herself holding a 15.5-ounce can of Goya Black Beans with the caption, ‘If It’s Goya, it has to be good,’” Sanderson wrote. 

“The Lincoln Project replaced that can of Goya Black beans with statistical references to 33,366 dead New Yorkers and 221,241 dead Americans. Why? Because Ms. Trump endorses the Trump Administration policies that have led to an unacceptable number of American deaths every bit as much as she once endorsed that can of beans,” the lawyer wrote.

“These billboards are not causing Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump’s standing with the public to plummet. Their incompetence is. This isn’t over. Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump will hear more from The Lincoln Project soon,” he added.

--Updated at 1:26 p.m.