Former President Trump is Suing CNN

Trump is getting back in fighting shape, he just sued CNN in a federal court in Florida for defamation. 

The lawsuit was filed on Monday by Trump’s attorney who claimed that 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, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election.”

Former President Trump is seeking $475 million in punitive damages, according to the lawsuit.

Trump talked about his plan to sue the network earlier in the summer by saying in a statement that he would be starting actions against other media outlets who have defamed him and defrauded the public regarding the overwhelming evidence that there was fraud throughout the 2020 presidential election. 

Trump’s attorneys maintain that CNN “has undertaken a smear campaign to malign the Plaintiff with a barrage of negative associations and innuendos, broadcasting commentary that he is like a cult leader, a Russian lackey, a dog whistler to white supremacists, and a racist.”

They go further stating various people on the CNN network have used the term “Big Lie” to refer to Trump’s statements about the 2020 election and voter fraud. The network has also attempted to associate Trump with Adolf Hitler. 

There was a January 2022 special report by host Fareed Zakaria that included footage of the 20th-century German dictator.

Trump Sues CNN for Defamation in Comparison to Dictator

If defamation is to be proven, lawyers must convince the court that journalists acted with actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth in their reporting. 

The First Amendment creates a high legal bar for the protection of free speech in the press. The New York Times has not lost a defamation case in more than 50 years. 

CNN settled a $275 million lawsuit in 2020 that was brought by a high school student in Kentucky who was at the center of a viral video controversy. Many people rallied around this case critical of the mainstream media.

The Trump campaign sued the New York Times in 2019 over suggesting that there was a “quid pro quo” between the Trump team and Russian officials.

This lawsuit from the former president comes amid big changes at CNN, which was recently sold to media conglomerate Discovery.

Chris Licht is the new president at CNN, he told network anchors in a meeting earlier this year that they should rein in the use of the phrase “the big lie” when referring to Trump’s election claims, worrying it was too partisan. He said that he wanted to see the network have a renewed commitment to journalism over punditry and speculation. 

In this new lawsuit, Trump’s lawyers address the issue that CNN used its massive influence to defame the former president in the minds of their viewers so that he could be defeated politically. 

The filing in the case is 29 pages and it includes a long track record of criticism which has been increased in recent months out of fear that he might run again in 2024. The suit says that there has been a concerted effort to “tilt the political balance to the left, CNN has tried to taint the plaintiff.”

This case puts Trump on the offensive at a time when he has several legal suits against him, including a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice. This suit alleges that he kept government records at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving office in 2021. 

Another case has been brought by the New York state attorney general, Leticia James, who has accused him of lying to banks and insurers about the value of his assets.

And there’s the congressional committee investigating last year’s January 6 assault on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.