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Donald Trump Suing Bill Maher Over $5 Million Joke - Would You Rep Him?

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Bill Maher and Donald Trump have a bit of a feud going on. While it hasn't reached Biggie-2Pac status yet, it has resulted in a $5 million dollar lawsuit stemming from comments Maher made about Trump's mother having sex with an orangutan, reports CNN.


It's now what you're expecting either. This isn't a defamation claim - it's a breach of contract claim.

You see, Maher made a promise to donate $5 million to charity if Trump could prove that he wasn't "the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan." He kept the joke running by listing possible charities, including the Hair Club for Men (not a charity, Mr. Maher) and the "Institute for Incorrigible Douche-bag-ery."

Trump, showing his own sense of humor, and deep pockets, had his counsel, Scott S. Balber of Cooley LLP, draft a letter accepting Maher's offer, and providing a birth certificate listing Fred Trump as his father, not an orangutan. He also requested that the $5 million be divided equally between Hurricane Sandy Victims, The Police Athletic League, The American Cancer Society, The March of Dimes, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Well played, Mr. Trump. Cooley sent a follow-up letter eight days later when the donations were not made, and filed a lawsuit earlier this week to enforce the breached contract. The court documents, with the letters and birth certificate attached, can be found below.

We won't bore you with substantive law discussion. We all took basic contracts, and can toss around offer, acceptance, consideration, promissory estoppel, and other big legal words and concepts.

What we will ask is this: Would you take the case?

From a business and publicity standpoint, obviously, right? You know Trump's good for the hundreds of dollars per hour that he's paying his attorneys at Cooley. They also get their name and legal documents plastered across the Internet.

Plus, since -- on its face -- the elements of a contract are met, this isn't exactly frivolous - though it's hard to believe that the court is going to enforce a $5 million joke.

Would you file a $5 million lawsuit, with little hope of succeeding, just to make a point on your client's behalf?

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