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Federal judge drops Donald’s Trump defamation lawsuit against CNN

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Former US President Donald Trump in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, on November 20, 2020. — AFP/File
Former US President Donald Trump in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House, on November 20, 2020. — AFP/File

A federal judge has dismissed a $475 million defamation lawsuit that Donald Trump brought against CNN for referring to his assertion that the 2020 election was rigged as the “Big Lie” after being hit with further charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

In the lawsuit that he filed in a US District Court in Florida in October last year, Donald Trump claimed that the phrase used by CNN compared the former US president to Adolf Hitler’s methods.

However, the lawsuit was dismissed on Friday by US District Court Judge Raag Singhal, who was appointed by Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

“There is no question that the statements made by CNN meet the publication requirement for defamation under Florida law,” Singhal said in his ruling.

“The next question is whether the statements were false statements of fact,” the judge said. “This is where Trump’s defamation claims fail.

“The complained of statements are opinion, not factually false statements, and therefore are not actionable,” Singhal said. “CNN’s statements, while repugnant, were not, as a matter of law, defamatory.

“The case will, therefore, be dismissed.”

In his defamation lawsuit, Trump claimed that the network’s usage of the term “Big Lie” was a “deliberate effort by CNN to propagate to its audience an association between the plaintiff and one of the most repugnant figures in modern history,” The Hill reported.

Trump had a caustic relationship with CNN and other major news outlets like The New York Times during his White House term, branding them “fake news” and repeatedly raging against them on social media.

The twice-impeached Trump, who has continued to insist falsely that he won the 2020 presidential election against Democrat Joe Biden, is to go on trial in Florida in May on charges of mishandling top secret government documents.

Trump is also facing dozens of felony charges in a case involving hush money payments to a porn star in New York and is bracing for indictment in separate state and federal investigations into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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