Former President Donald Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN, accusing the network of defaming him “with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler.” According to the lawsuit, Trump is seeking punitive damages in the amount of $475 million dollars. Punitive damages are considered punishment and are typically awarded at the court’s discretion when the defendant’s behavior is found to be especially harmful.
To prove defamation, a plaintiff must show four things: 1) a false statement purporting to be fact; 2) publication or communication of that statement to a third person; 3) fault amounting to at least negligence; and 4) damages, or some harm caused to the reputation of the person or entity who is the subject . Furthermore, if the plaintiff is a public figure, he or she must prove that the defendant acted with actual malice when the alleged defamatory statement was made.
The former President’s attorneys accuse the media outlet of knowingly making false and defamatory statements about the Plaintiff, or at the very least, made those statements with reckless disregard for their truth or falsity, thereby acting with actual malice,”
The lawsuit further alleges that CNN defamed Trump by repeatedly calling his claims of voter fraud baseless. The suit accuses the network of undertaking a smear campaign against Trump and hurled “a barrage of negative associations and innuendos” at him “broadcasting commentary that he is like a cult leader, a Russian lackey, a dog whistler to white supremacists, and a racist,” according to court documents.
Trump claimed that CNN had used its considerable influence as a leading news organization to defeat him politically. CNN declined to comment on the case.