Trump loses US$475 million suit against CNN—latest defeat in multiple media face-offs


A federal judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by former President Donald Trump against CNN on Saturday, after Trump argued the cable network had unfairly attacked him in recent years—the latest failed defamation claim by the former president, who has frequently deployed similar lawsuits against his adversaries.
The former president accused the network of defaming him by using the phrase “the Big Lie” while allegedly likening him to Adolf Hitler. Image: Getty
Key Takeaways
  • District Judge Raag Singhai—who announced his decision Saturday—dismissed a claim by Trump that CNN used the phrase “the Big Lie” in connection with Trump’s false claims about voter fraud while allegedly likening him to Adolf Hitler.
  • The network’s use of the phrase “does not give rise to a plausible inference that Trump advocates the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people,” Singhai wrote, noting “no reasonable viewer could (or should) plausibly make that reference.”
  • Singhai—a Trump appointee who serves in the Southern District of Florida—also added that being “Hitler-like” was not “a verifiable statement of fact that would support a defamation claim.”
  • A Trump campaign spokesperson told CNN on Saturday that it agreed with Singha— who said any Nazi reference “in the political discourse” was “odious and repugnant”—while suggesting the network would “be held responsible for the wrongful mistreatment” of Trump.
Big Number

$475 million. That’s how much Trump was seeking in punitive damages.


Defamation cases can be difficult to prove successfully, especially if the plaintiff is a public figure. This requires proof of “actual malice,” which indicates the defendant knowingly made a false statement or did so with reckless disregard for the truth. A successful claim is then dependent on whether the plaintiff can prove the defendant made an objectively false statement while acting with negligence.

Key Background

Trump has filed a series of defamation lawsuits against other media companies and adversaries in recent years—and lost all that have been ruled on. Trump filed a $72 million suit last year alleging Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and nearly 50 others—including former FBI director James Comey—had engaged in a racketeering plot to falsely link his election campaign to Russia.

The suit was dismissed months later. Two claims filed by Trump and his campaign against the New York Times—one in 2020 and another in 2021—were thrown out. Trump’s social media company sued the Washington Post for $3.8 billion in May, following a report indicating a porn-linked entity would “gain a sizable stake” in the company.

The suit follows another filed by Trump against the paper, after it published two opinion pieces suggesting Russia aided his 2016 presidential campaign. A judge later ruled it was Trump’s campaign that had a reckless disregard for the truth. Trump previously sued CNN in 2020, though the suit was also dismissed. He recently filed a countersuit against E. Jean Carroll, who claimed Trump sexually abused her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s.

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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