WASHINGTON — President Trump’s re-election campaign filed a libel lawsuit against CNN on Friday — the third such suit against a media organization in the last 10 days.
The suit, first reported by Fox News, alleges that CNN intentionally published “false and defamatory” statements about the Trump campaign seeking help from Russia to win the 2020 election.
The complaint says it stems from an opinion piece posted on CNN.com on June 13, 2019, by Larry Noble and headlined, “Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime. Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with it.” It was labeled as an opinion piece and featured a disclaimer that Noble is a CNN contributor but the commentary is solely his own view.
The piece states that Trump’s campaign “assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table” as a fact, the lawsuit argues, and it remained on CNN’s website despite Trump’s legal team sending a request to retract and apologize last month.
“The complaint alleges CNN was aware of the falsity at the time it published them but did so for the intentional purpose of hurting the campaign while misleading its own readers in the process,” the Trump re-election campaign’s senior legal adviser, Jenna Ellis, told Fox News.
The latest suit, filed in the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia, where CNN is headquartered, comes after the campaign sued the Washington Post on Tuesday and the New York Times last Wednesday.
Ellis said the three lawsuits would “hold the publishers accountable for their reckless false reporting and also to establish the truth.”
“False statements are not protected under the U.S. Constitution; therefore, these suits will have no chilling effect on freedom of the press. If journalists are more accurate in their statements and reporting, that would be a positive development, but not why these suits were filed,” Ellis told Fox News.
“Noble has written numerous articles accusing the President of criminal activity, and of campaign finance and ethics violations, and has lodged a complaint against a Super-PAC which supports the President,” the complaint says. “CNN clearly had a malicious motive in publishing the Defamatory Article, and acted with reckless disregard for the truth.”
On Wednesday, the campaign hit the Washington Post with a libel lawsuit over two 2019 columns that suggested it sought re-election help from Russia and North Korea.
They also sued the New York Times last week, claiming the newspaper libeled the president when it said his 2016 campaign was working with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton.
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