OAN’s Roy Francis
12:46 PM – Saturday, July 29, 2023
A federal judge in Florida has dismissed 45th President Donald Trump’s $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN.
The lawsuit, which was centered around references made by on-air figures to “the Big Lie” was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal, who wrote that references to the term were matters of opinion and not fact.
“Trump complains that CNN described his election challenges as ‘the Big Lie.’ Trump argues that ‘the Big Lie’ is a phrase attributed to Nazi Party politician Joseph Goebbels and that CNN’s use of the phrase wrongly links Trump with the Hitler regime in the public eye. This is a stacking of inferences that cannot support a finding of falsehood,” judge Singhal wrote.
The 45th President argued that the use of the term “the Big Lie” was defamatory as they “created a false and incendiary association” with Hitler. The term is usually associated with the Nazi regime of Germany, with the origin of the term associated with Adolf Hitler’s accusation of wrongdoing against the Jewish people.
The lawsuit had cited five different instances when the term “the Big Lie” was used. January 25, 2021, CNN opinion article by Ruth Ben-Ghiat; July 5 and September 15 pieces by Chris Cillizza; a January 16 reference to “the Big Lie” by Jake Tapper on State of the Union; and another Cillizza piece from February 11. The lawsuit also listed other moments when guests on CNN had made the comparison as well, including one such instance where Linda Ronstadt made the comparison during an interview with Anderson Cooper in 2019.
Singhal wrote that “bad rhetoric is not defamation when it does not include false statements of fact,” adding that no “reasonable viewer” could make the reference that president Trump “advocates for the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people.”
Although Singhal dismissed the suit, he made it clear that he was not a fan of CNN using the phrase. He said that it was “odious and repugnant” to use that or any other potential references to Hitler and the Holocaust in any news stories.
The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida, the jurisdiction that covers Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach estate.
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