President Trump’s re-election campaign lost its libel case against CNN for an opinion piece accusing the campaign of seeking help from Russia in the 2020 election.
The campaign filed suit in March over Larry Noble’s opinion piece from June 13, 2019 — in which he claimed that the campaign had weighed whether to get help from Russia in the reelection, and decided “to leave that option on the table.”
The suit alleged the statements from the piece — headlined, “Soliciting dirt on your opponents from a foreign government is a crime. Mueller should have charged Trump campaign officials with it” — were false and defamatory.
CNN claimed the opinions in the article are constitutionally protected under free speech laws.
Georgia Federal Judge Michael Brown found that the suit didn’t prove actual malice — a higher legal standard required in defamation cases against public figures in which it must be proven that the statements were made with knowledge that they were untrue or with reckless disregard of the truth.
“Plaintiff did not adequately plead that the statement was published with actual malice,” Brown’s decision from Thursday reads.
While the judge tossed the case, he is allowing the suit to be changed and refiled by the end of the month.
Lawyers on both sides did not immediately return a request for comment.
The lawsuit came within days of two other similar libel cases that the Trump campaign filed against the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Those two cases are still pending.
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