Trump, Not Descended From an Orangutan, Sues Maher for $5M
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Donald Trump is not "the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan," and demands in court that Bill Maher pay him the $5 million Maher offered on "The Tonight Show" if Trump could "come up with proof" that it isn't so.
Trump sued Maher, the political commentator, for breach of contract, in Superior Court. Trump also complains that Maher compared Trump's Twitter posts to "the work of a 'syphilitic monkey.'"
Trump did not, however, sue for defamation - just for breach of contract.
Maher appeared on "The Tonight Show" on Jan. 7, during which Jay Leno asked him "to explain his 'beef' with Mr. Trump," according to Trump's complaint.
"In response, Maher accused Mr. Trump of having 'lied' regarding a potential appearance on Maher's television talk show, and falsely stated that Mr. Trump was 'first of all, a terrible racist, so I don't feel bad about anything I say about him.'
"Having recklessly and baselessly accused Mr. Trump of racism, Maher than engaged in base insults, stating that Mr. Trump's posting on the Twitter social networking service are the work of a 'syphilitic monkey.'
"Maher then stated that 'suppose that perhaps Donald Trump had been the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan ... I hope it's not true ... but unless he comes up with proof, I'm willing to offer $5 million to Donald Trump that he can donate to a charity of his choice ... whatever charity!'" (Ellipses in complaint.)
In a transcript of the Leno show, attached as an exhibit to the complaint, Maher explains that Trump must be descended from an orangutan "because, well - I didn't just make this up - the color of his hair ... and the color of an orange orangutan is the only two things in nature of the same color." (Ellipsis in complaint.)
Maher's offer satirized Trump's much-repeated claim that Barack Obama could not produce his birth certificate to prove he was a U.S. citizen, and that he would pay $5 million to see the document.
Trump claims that Maher's "Tonight Show" offer, "much like Mr. Trump's offer to President Obama, was, and would have been understood by an objective observer to be, a genuine offer to make the promised payment if Mr. Trump provided proof of his birth and parentage."
Well, Trump claims, "The next day, on January 8, 2013, Mr. Trump's counsel wrote to Maher, formally accepting Maher's offer and attaching a copy of Mr. Trump's birth certificate, demonstrating that 'he is the son of Fred Trump. ...' The letter demanded that the promised $5 million be paid to Mr. Trump immediately, and specified the five charities to whom Mr. Trump would distribute the money: a charity assisting the Hurricane Sandy victims, the Police Athletic League, the American Cancer Society, the March of Dimes, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute." (Ellipsis in complaint.)
Trump claims: "A contract was formed between Maher and Mr. Trump as of the moment the Acceptance Letter was sent."
But Maher hasn't ponied up.
"Maher has not responded to the acceptance letter or to the demand letter, and has never denied the legitimacy of his offer, but has made no payments pursuant to his contract with Mr. Trump," the complaint states. "It should be noted that Maher did not mention this very public event on his next live episode of 'Real Time with Bill Maher,' which aired on January 18, 2013."
Trump wants the $5 million, with interest. He also wants a trial by jury.
He is represented by Scott Balber, with Cooley LLP of New York City, and Michael Rhodes, with Cooley's San Diego office.