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Home | Americas

Trump sues CNN for $475 million

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-10-05 07:16

Former US president Donald Trump. [Photo/Agencies]

Former US president Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against CNN for defamation and is seeking $475 million in punitive damages.

The 29-page lawsuit filed Monday in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida claims that the cable network harmed his reputation with "false, defamatory, and inflammatory mischaracterizations of him" and that CNN's conduct is intended to interfere with his political career.

The lawsuit took issue with CNN's use of the words "racist", "Russian lackey" and "insurrectionist", as well as the use of the term the "Big Lie" to describe Trump's "stated concerns about the integrity of the election process for the 2020 presidential election".

Trump's lawyers argued that the "Big Lie" is a direct reference to a tactic employed by Adolf Hitler and appears in Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

The lawsuit alleged that CNN's campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander against Trump has only escalated in recent months as CNN fears he will run for president in 2024.

"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," the lawsuit states. "As a part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the left, CNN has tried to taint the plaintiff."

CNN declined to comment on the lawsuit.

It isn't the first time that Trump has sued the media outlet. In 2020, his campaign separately sued The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times over opinion pieces. The suit against CNN and the Times were dismissed, but the lawsuit against the Post is still pending.

Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount University, told the Post that Trump's lawyers must show that CNN made false remarks about Trump knowingly or had a reckless disregard for the truth to win the case.

Levinson said the most probable outcome of Trump's legal challenge is that it would be thrown out once CNN filed a motion to dismiss the suit.

"I think it's really about trying to chill speech against the former president," she told the Post. "It's a warning shot to media outlets that he intends to make good on threats of suing for defamation. And for some outlets, that could ultimately put them out of business."

Trump himself is facing various legal challenges. He is under FBI investigation about his holding of sensitive government documents at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago after he left office.

New York's attorney general recently filed a civil suit against Trump and three of his adult children, accusing them of lying to tax collectors, lenders and insurers in a fraud scheme to enrich themselves.

A special grand jury in Georgia is considering whether Trump and others attempted to influence state election officials after his 2020 presidential defeat.

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