07 Mar TRUMP ALLY UNSUCCESSFUL IN HIS LIBEL CLAIM AGAINST CNN
Former Congressman, ally of Donald Trump, and regular lawsuit instigator Devin Nunes has lost his defamation case against CNN and its anchor Jake Tapper. Nunes is the CEO of the social media platform Truth Social – a platform founded by Trump in October 2021 after Twitter suspended his account.
Nunes sued over a segment on CNN Tonight with Jake Tapper broadcast on 31 October 2022. In the segment Tapper commented on the “spreading” “of offensive and false conspiracy theories” following the violent attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi, husband of the then-Speaker of the House of Congress. According to Tapper, the conspiracy theories included “the complete and utter lie, the deranged smear that Paul Pelosi and the attacker…were in a sexual relationship”. As part of the segment Tapper displayed two of Nunes’ posts on Truth Social said to “smear” Pelosi.
Nunes brought a libel claim in the state of Florida alleging that he did not peddle conspiracy theories, but – in fact – had condemned the attack on Pelosi two days before CNN’s broadcast. Accordingly, Nunes argued Tapper’s statements were false and defamatory.
Nunes’ decision to bring his case in Florida proved misguided. Tapper is resident in Washington DC and the segment was aired from CNN’s Washington DC Studio. Nothing Tapper discussed on-air specifically related to Florida and Tapper never travelled to Florida in relation to the segment. In other words, the libel case had no obvious connection with Florida. On 1 March 2023 a Florida District Courtdismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.
Nunes is no stranger to the courts. In recent years, he has also filed defamation claims against multiple other media organisations.