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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 11th November 2016 > THE GLEEFUL ASSASSIN


Gawker-killer Charles Harder is now fighting against all those ‘irresponsible journalists’ of the internet. That’s not blood on his hands; it’s ink


CHARLES HARDER does not want to be recorded, one of the very few interview subjects I’ve ever had make that demand. The military commanders at Guantánamo Bay were fine with it; the convicted murderer in a New York prison was fine with it; countless politicians and government officials were fine with it. But not this Beverly Hills lawyer to the stars, which means that as we sit down for lunch, I am forced to eat with one hand and scrawl notes with the other. I don’t want to give the idea, however, that Harder was torturing me because he likes to torture journalists, though that accusation has been made. A client list that includes Jude Law and Amber Heard means, to borrow from Falstaff, that discretion is the better part of disclosure.

My notes from that meal are sparse, because in addition to not wanting to be recorded, Harder frequently goes off the record. Having become somewhat famous for defending the obscenely famous, Harder has a deceptively casual manner that disguises a master gardener’s impulse for pruning media curiosity into the kind of flowery coverage that reflects well on his practice and clients. He will not so much as acknowledge that he works for Roger Ailes, the deposed Fox News chairman, though Harder’s name appears on a threatening letter to New York magazine. Nor will he say how Melania Trump came to be his client in a lawsuit against the Daily Mail, which alleged, in an article since removed, that the wife of the Republican presidential nominee worked for an escort service in the 1990s. Nor will he talk—on the record or off —about his politics. Or his family. “I have the most boring life in the world,” he says—on the record.

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TRUMP'S MISSING EMAILS Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics, exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court lings, judicial orders and a davits from an array of court cases, have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump. In each instance, Trump and entities he controlled also erected numerous hurdles that made lawsuits drag on for years, forcing courtroom opponents to spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled sometimes in vain to obtain records.