Judge Tosses Trump's CNN Suit

$475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN, Ruling calls 'Big Lie' usage repugnant but not defamatory
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2022 5:30 PM CDT
Updated Jul 29, 2023 4:30 PM CDT
Trump Sues CNN for $475M
Donald Trump tosses caps to the crowd as he holds a rally on Sept. 23, 2022, in Wilmington, NC.   (AP Photo/Chris Seward, File)
UPDATE Jul 29, 2023 4:30 PM CDT

Donald Trump's lawsuit arguing that CNN likened the former president to Adolf Hitler in its coverage of false 2020 election fraud claims has come to an end. The defamation suit said that on-air use of the term "Big Lie" harmed Trump. US District Judge Raag Singhal dismissed the suit late Friday, saying that such statements were opinion. The Trump appointee called the network's use of the term repugnant, Politico reports, but said that "Being 'Hitler-like' is not a verifiable statement of fact that would support a defamation claim." The suit cannot be refiled making the same argument.

Oct 3, 2022 5:30 PM CDT

Donald Trump has made good on his threat to sue CNN. In a suit filed in federal court in Monday, the former president's lawyers said the network had attempted to smear him "with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of 'racist,' 'Russian lackey,' 'insurrectionist,' and ultimately 'Hitler,'" the Guardian reports. The suit is seeking $475 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit says the network "has sought to use its massive influence—purportedly as a 'trusted' news source—to defame the plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically." In the 29-page lawsuit, Trump complains that CNN has stepped up its attacks on him recently because it doesn't want him to run for president again in 2024, reports Reuters. The suit names CNN anchors and guests who used the term "Big Lie" to refer to Trump's false claims about election fraud.

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Trump said months ago that he would "also be commencing actions against other media outlets who have defamed me and defrauded the public regarding the overwhelming evidence of fraud throughout the 2020 Election." The Hill notes that the lawsuit will struggle to clear First Amendment protection for journalists. To prove defamation, Trump's lawyers will have to show the network acted with "actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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