Judge rejects Donald Trump’s $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN over ‘big lie’ comments

A federal judge on Friday dismissed Donald Trump’s defamation case against CNN, in which the former president accused the news outlet of associating him with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime.

Trump alleged CNN’s use of the phrase “the big lie” to describe his false claims of election fraud in the 2020 race for the White House created a comparison with Hitler, who used the term in different contexts alongside other Nazi figures. Trump claimed the phrase “has incited readers and viewers to hate, contempt, distrust, ridicule, and even fear” him, according to District Judge Raag Singhal’s findings.

The former president also alleged that CNN didn’t challenge Democratic leaders who “complained about election integrity,” among other accusations. Trump sought more than $475 million in damages against CNN.

But Singhal dismissed the case, saying the comments Trump cited in the lawsuit “are opinion, not factually false statements.”

“CNN’s statements while repugnant, were not, as a matter of law, defamatory,” Singhal wrote in the Friday ruling.

“CNN’s use of the phrase ‘the Big Lie’ in connection with Trump’s election challenges does not give rise to a plausible inference that Trump advocates the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people,” he added.

Washington: Donald Trump has no immunity from E. Jean Carroll lawsuit, Justice Department says

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump, said in a statement to multiple outlets that “We agree with the highly respected judge’s findings that CNN’s statements about President Trump are repugnant.”

Trump has been indicted twice this year, including on federal charges over his alleged mishandling of classified documents and New York state charges involving hush money. Earlier this month, Trump said he also received a target letter and could be charged in another federal case involving the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

And the Justice Department earlier this year reversed a previous holding and said Trump is not immune from a second defamation lawsuit from writer E. Jean Carroll, who previously won a $5 million judgment against him for sexual abuse and defamation.

Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump’s $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN rejected

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