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Questions arise about story claiming Trump lawyers targeted teenage girl over joke website

March 23, 2017

According to a report by he Observer — the New York City-based website formerly owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — a high school girl from San Francisco was targeted by President Donald Trump’s lawyers over a joke website she created for coding practice. But new questions have arisen questioning the veracity of the story.

The Observer originally reported that a girl identified by only her first name, “Lucy,” created a “fun little” website where users could click on Donald Trump’s face to punch him with adorable kitten paws. Three weeks after the site’s creation, the report claimed, the 17-year-old was sent a cease-and-desist letter from Trump’s general counsel in New York, warning her that “the Trump name is internationally known and famous.” After consulting with a family lawyer, Lucy changed the site’s name to But even after changing the name, she reportedly said, Trump’s lawyers continued to harass her.

However, reporters at the tech blog Gizmodo dug into the claims and discovered some inconsistencies. Namely, Gizmodo found that the original site mentioned in the report,, was registered on March 22 — a day after the Observer’s report on her site was published. Moreover, Gizmodo points out, “Lucy” had claimed to receive the first cease-and-desist letter a full three weeks prior to the site having gone online. “To put it plainly, you can’t send a cease and desist over a website that doesn’t exist,” Gizmodo editor Bryan Menegus wrote. “To put [it] even more plainly, March 22 is after March 1.”

Adding to the absurdity, an external PR firm representing the Trump Organization reached out to The Observer to claim that reporters hadn’t called to confirm the story — a claim that The Observer denies. Alan Garten, executive vice president and chief legal officer at The Trump Organization, also commented through the PR agency, saying, “This is completely false. No such letter was ever sent by us.” Reporters for The Observer denied that claim, insisting that they had in fact confirmed the existence of the letter themselves.

Read the full story at Gizmodo and the Observer.

Editors note: This story has been updated with details reported by Gizmodo


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