- The Washington Times - Friday, December 4, 2015

Univision is asking a New York judge to dismiss Donald Trump’s $500 million lawsuit against the network for its decision to terminate a five-year deal to broadcast the Miss USA pageant.

Univision decided not to move forward with the $13.5 million Miss USA deal after Mr. Trump spoke negatively about Mexican immigrants in his June 16 presidential announcement speech. The billionaire then sued Univision for breach of contract and defamation claims, Variety reported.

“Through his diatribe, Trump destroyed the value of those broadcast rights, and neither Trump nor Miss Universe did anything to repair the damage in the aftermath of his speech,” Univision said Friday. “The widespread outrage elicited by Trump’s offensive comments was especially acute for Univision’s sponsors and predominantly Hispanic viewers, who made clear that they would not patronize a business connected with Trump.”

The Republican presidential candidate is also claiming defamation over an Instagram post by Univision Networks president of programming and content Alberto Ciurana, which featured a side-by-side image of Mr. Trump and Dylann Roof, accused gunman in the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre.

“There is a rich irony to Trump’s cry that he is the target of an effort to ‘suppress [his] right to free speech,’ when it is Trump himself—a candidate for President—who is attempting to invoke the coercive power of the courts to punish a citizen’s speech,” Univision states in a memorandum to dismiss, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “That is not how our democracy works. To the contrary, by announcing his noxious views on Mexican immigrants as part of his campaign platform, Trump invited vigorous debate and commentary — and he got it. The fact that Trump is too ‘thin-skinned’ to endure the kind of lampooning that has typified presidential campaigns since the founding of the Republic does not entitle him pursue a judgment and $500 million in alleged damages.”

Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, called the motion to dismiss “laughable.”

“Clearly, this hasn’t been a good week for Univision. They are loaded with debt and just decided this week to once again postpone their long planned IPO,” he said, Variety reported. “As far as the litigation, Univision can try to distract the court and the public from the real issues in dispute all it wants. The fact remains that Univision willfully breached their contract, acted in bad faith and caused my clients to suffer significant damages. For this, Univision will pay in the end.”

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