Trump sues CNN for $485 million for what he claims is defamation

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Donald Trump has sued CNN for nearly half a billion dollars over alleged defamation.

The suit, filed in Florida, accuses the network of making “a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler’.”

It goes on to point out CNN’s use of the phrases such as “Trump’s big lie” relating to his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The lawsuit attempts to tie this to a key legal standard for libel cases, accusing the network of acting with “actual malice” and “reckless disregard for their truth or falsity.”

He’s seeking $475 million in punitive damages from the network.

It’s unclear how successful the suit might be, though citing the legal concept of “actual malice” is noteworthy.

In U.S. law, defamation and related slander and libel legal concepts typically require the statements made to be false for there to be a case.

In a broad sense, media outlets are often protected from lawsuits if they report information that was believed to be true at the time but was later discovered to be false, thanks to the concept of actual malice.

Actual malice means, in a general sense, that a news organization might not be able to skirt reporting false information even if it thought it was true if it could be proved that it intended actual harm to Trump.

That has historically been a fairly high standard to prove.

It’s worth noting that CNN and Trump have a rocky relationship. He’s frequently referred to the network as “fake news” so it could perhaps be argued, at least on some level, that CNN had a reason to paint him in bad light.

Taken the other way, it could be argued that Trump’s repeated practice of calling the network “fake news” is defamatory as well since there is no documented evidence the network ever knowingly reported false information without later correcting it.

CNN did not respond to multiple outlets’ requests for comment, which is common when litigation is pending.

Trump, meanwhile, has been fighting a defamation suit brought against him by E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he raped her decades ago. He has reportedly used a variety of legal tactics to delay the proceedings.