Trump sues CNN in $475million defamation lawsuit and claims network ‘fears’ him running in 2024

Former president seeking $475m in punitive damages

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 04 October 2022 04:28 BST
Related video: Trump thanks Ginni Thomas for sticking to stolen election lies
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Donald Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN and claimed that the network “fears” him running for president again in 2024.

Lawyers for the one-term president filed the lawsuit, which seeks $475m in punitive damages, in US District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Monday.

In court papers, the suit claims that Mr Trump has been a “long-time critic” of the news network, “not because CNN does a bad job of reporting the news, but because CNN seeks to create the news”.

Mr Trump warned CNN in July that he intended to sue them for “repeated defamatory statements”.

“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 president in 2024,” 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 with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler.’”

And it adds: “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.”

CNN has tried to move away from its stridently anti-Trump coverage in recent weeks, parting ways with a number of hosts and contributors seen as especially antagonistic towards the former president. However, no amount of down-the-middle coverage woud allay Mr Trump’s cries of “fake news” when it comes to the mainstream media.

Mr Trump lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 election and has strongly hinted he will seek the Republican nomination again in 2024, although has stopped short of officially confirming it.

He is also facing a string of legal investigations, including a criminal one by the Justice Department over top secret documents that he kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

The Justice Department and a Congressional committee are also probing the violent attack by his supporters on the US Capitol on January 6 2020 in an attempt to prevent Mr Biden’s certification as president.

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