Trump Media files $3.78bn defamation lawsuit against Washington Post over Truth Social reporting

Trump’s latest defamation lawsuit comes after his investment in struggling Truth Social platform saw his net wealth fall by $700m in the past year

Bevan Hurley
Monday 22 May 2023 17:18 BST
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The company behind Donald Trump’s Truth Social platform has filed a $3.78bn defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post.

The lawsuit, filed by Trump Media & Technology Group Corp (TMTG) in Florida’s Sarasota County, claims that a 13 May article that alleged the company may have committed securities fraud was false and defamatory, and posed an “existential threat”.

The article titled “Trust linked to porn-friendly bank could gain a stake in Trump’s Truth Social” alleged that the company had concealed key details about a proposed merger from the Securities and Exchange Commission and shareholders, citing internal documents provided by a whistleblower.

The lawsuit claims the Washington Post had been on a “years-long crusade” to undermine the Trump Media, which was founded in February 2021.

“The clickbait headline of the WaPo Article... immediately grabbed the common mind of readers, falsely insinuating that TMTG was involved in shady business dealings,” the suit claims.

The case is the latest in a series of defamation suits brought by Mr Trump, his political campaign organisations and companies in recent years.

In March 2020, the Trump Campaign filed a defamation suit against The Post over two articles about Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion and his campaign strategy.

The suit was dismissed by a federal judge in March this year.

A $100m defamation lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump alleging an “insidious plot” to obtain his tax records was thrown out by a New York supreme court judge in May.

Mr Trump was ordered to pay all of the legal fees and costs associated with the case.

In October, Mr Trump sued CNN in a Florida court for $475m, claiming he had been smeared “with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels”.

The Independent has contacted the Post for comment.

Truth Social was announced in October 2021 as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook, after Mr Trump was kicked off both platforms for inciting the deadly January 6 Capitol riots.

The business, which is 85 per cent-owned by Mr Trump, was hyped with a potential value of $22bn after investors piled money into Truth Social’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

But according to Forbes, the business was worth around $1.2bn in April this year.

Truth Social is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department for alleged money laundering, and is subject to probes by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Regulatory Agency.

The whistleblower cited by The Post, former Trump Media executive Will Wilkerson, told the news site in a recent interview that he had handed over 150,000 internal documents to federal investigators.

Mr Trump’s net wealth plunged by $700m to $2.5bn in 2023 due to his investment in the struggling social media platform, according to Forbes.

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