Donald Trump files $475,000,000 lawsuit against CNN for defamation
Former President Donald Trump has followed through with his threat to sue CNN for defamation.
The lawsuit filed in a US District Court in Florida on Monday states that the TV 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, culminating in CNN claiming credit for “(getting) Trump out” in the 2020 presidential election’.
Trump seeks $475million in punitive damages.
The 45th president in July had threatened to sue CNN for calling him a ‘liar’ and his false claims around the 2020 presidential election ‘lies’.
Trump’s lawyers argue in the suit that CNN ‘has undertaken a smear campaign to malign the Plaintiff with a barrage of negative associations and innuendos, broadcasting commentary that he is like a cult leader, a Russian lackey, a dog whistler to white supremacists, and a racist’.
The complaint states that CNN – by referring to the ex-president’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him as ‘Trump’s big lie’ – shows ‘reckless disregard for their truth or falsity’. Such language acts with ‘actual malice’, Trump’s lawyers argue.
CNN did not immediately comment on the suit.
Defamation cases have been hard for plaintiffs to win in the US. Public officials and figures must prove that media outlets with First Amendment protections acted with actual malice as well as reckless disregard for the truth.
Trump in late July announced that he had notified CNN of his intent to sue the news organization ‘over their repeated defamatory statements against me’.
‘I will 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,’ Trump said through his Save America PAC at the time.
The letter earlier this summer cited dozens of instances in which CNN called Trump’s election claims ‘lies’, ‘baseless theories’ and ‘false narratives’.
CNN’s new president, Chris Licht, earlier this year apparently told anchors to limit referring to Trump’s election claims as ‘the big lie’, among other phrases. He called on employees to focus on pursuing journalism instead of speculation.