A Florida judge has dismissed former President Donald Trump’s $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN, ruling that Trump failed to prove that the network defamed him when it reported that he had lied about the size of his inauguration crowd.
Trump had filed the lawsuit in October 2020, alleging that CNN’s reporting had damaged his reputation and caused him to lose business opportunities. However, in his ruling on Friday, Judge Raag Singhal said that Trump had not presented enough evidence to support his claims.
Singhal noted that CNN’s reporting was based on multiple sources, including photographs and videos, and that the network had made it clear that it was reporting on Trump’s own statements, not making factual assertions about the size of the crowd.
“The statements at issue are opinions protected by the First Amendment,” Singhal wrote. “They are not statements of fact, and they do not imply a false statement of fact.”
Trump’s lawyers said they were disappointed in the ruling and that they were considering an appeal.
The dismissal of Trump’s lawsuit is a victory for CNN, which has been a frequent target of Trump’s attacks. The network has been accused of being biased against Trump and of spreading “fake news.” However, CNN has defended its reporting, saying that it is committed to providing accurate and unbiased news coverage.
The dismissal of Trump’s lawsuit is a reminder that the First Amendment protects the right of the media to report on public figures, even if the reporting is critical. It is also a reminder that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff in a defamation case to show that the defendant made false statements of fact that were published with actual malice.
In this case, Trump was unable to meet that burden. As a result, his lawsuit was dismissed.