Former US President Donald Trump has sued CNN (Cable News Network) for $475 million in punitive damages for making “maliciously false and defamatory statements” about him aimed at “defeating him politically”.
In the lawsuit filed on Monday in US district court for Southern Florida, Trump sued CNN alleging defamation, accusing the news network of taking persistent actions aimed at “defeating him politically”.
Alleging that CNN has maliciously made false and defamatory statements about him, Trump sought $475 million in punitive damages, as well as compensatory damages to be determined at trial.
“Beyond simply highlighting any negative information about the plaintiff and ignoring all positive information about him, CNN 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,” Trump’s lawyers Lindsey Halligan and James M. Trusty wrote in the 29-page complaint.
“CNN’s campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against the plaintiff has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears the plaintiff will run for the President in 2024,” they added.
Trump hasn’t said whether he will run for President again yet.
Trump’s lawyers alleged in the lawsuit that CNN has used both false and defamatory labels against the former President, including “racist”, “Russian lackey” and “insurrectionist.”
His attorneys also referred to what they said was “CNN’s persistent association of the plaintiff to Adolf Hitler and Nazism.”
According to the lawsuit, CNN refused Trump’s request in July to retract 34 articles and TV segments he considered defamatory and wouldn’t comply with demands that it stop referring to his false claims about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election as “lies”.
It may be recalled that Trump as President had told the then FBI director James Comey, who he finally fired for not closing the Russia files investigation against him, that he ought to do something about the ‘Clinton News Network’ – his way of damning CNN for what he alleged being partisan about the Hilary Clinton emails coverage while being unfair to him on the Putin connections.