Monday, 2 October, 2023
E-paper

Judge throws out Trump defamation lawsuit against CNN

 A federal judge has dismissed a $475 million defamation lawsuit that Donald Trump filed against CNN for describing his claim that the 2020 election was stolen as the "Big Lie."

Trump, in the suit filed in a US District Court in Florida in October, had alleged that the use of the phrase by the cable television news network associated the former US president with tactics used by Adolf Hitler.

US District Court Judge Raag Singhal, who was appointed by Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, tossed out the suit on Friday.

"There is no question that the statements made by CNN meet the publication requirement for defamation under Florida law," Singhal said in his ruling.

"The next question is whether the statements were false statements of fact," the judge said. "This is where Trump's defamation claims fail.

"The complained of statements are opinion, not factually false statements, and therefore are not actionable," Singhal said. "CNN's statements, while repugnant, were not, as a matter of law, defamatory.

"The case will, therefore, be dismissed."

In his defamation complaint, Trump said the network's use of the phrase the "Big Lie" was a "deliberate effort by CNN to propagate to its audience an association between the plaintiff and one of the most repugnant figures in modern history."

Trump had a caustic relationship with CNN and other major news outlets like The New York Times during his White House term, branding them "fake news" and repeatedly raging against them on social media.

The twice-impeached Trump, who has continued to insist falsely that he won the 2020 presidential election against Democrat Joe Biden, is to go on trial in Florida in May on charges of mishandling top secret government documents.

Trump is also facing dozens of felony charges in a case involving hush money payments to a porn star in New York and is bracing for indictment in separate state and federal investigations into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.