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Trump gets more bad legal news after tough week


Former President Donald Trump was handed another legal loss on Friday by a federal judge he appointed, following a turbulent week after the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) special counsel Jack Smith unveiled three additional criminal charges against him in the classified documents case.

U.S. District Court Judge Raag Singhal for the Southern District of Florida, previously appointed by Trump in 2019, dismissed the former president’s lawsuit against CNN with prejudice. Trump claimed in a court filing in October 2022 that the cable news network defamed him by using the phrase “The Big Lie” in regard to him falsely saying that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in favor of Joe Biden, likening him to Adolf Hitler, the former dictator of Nazi Germany. According to Cornell Law School, with prejudice means that the plaintiff cannot refile the same claim again in that court.

In last year’s court filing in which the former president sought $475 million in damages from CNN, his legal team wrote, “Beyond simply highlighting any negative information about the Plaintiff [Trump] and ignoring all positive information about him, CNN has sought to use its massive influence—purportedly as a ‘trusted’ news source—to defame the Plaintiff in the minds of its viewers and readers for the purpose of defeating him politically, culminating in CNN claiming credit for ‘[getting] Trump out’ in the 2020 presidential election.

“As a part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the Left, CNN has tried to taint the Plaintiff with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler.'”

Donald Trump
Republican 2024 presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump is seen at the Republican Party of Iowa 2023 Lincoln Dinner on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa. Trump was handed another legal loss on Friday in his lawsuit against CNN by a federal judge he appointed in 2019. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In his Friday dismissal, Singhal wrote that “being ‘Hitler-like’ is not a verifiable statement of fact that would support a defamation claim. CNN’s statements while repugnant, were not, as a matter of law, defamatory.”

The federal judge continued: “Bad rhetoric is not defamation when it does not include false statements of fact. CNN’s use of the phrase “the Big Lie” in connection with Trump’s election challenges does not give rise to a plausible inference that Trump advocates the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people. No reasonable viewer could (or should) plausibly make that reference.”

As of Saturday afternoon, Trump has not acknowledged the ruling publicly. Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s campaign via email for comment.

Despite his various legal troubles, Trump continues to campaign for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination and remains the frontrunner. He continues to be popular among the GOP electorate as the anti-Trump vote splits its support between several candidates, with his top rival Florida Governor Ron DeSantis facing campaign challenges in recent weeks.

Political analyst Craig Agranoff told Newsweek on Saturday, “The recent legal setbacks for Donald Trump are a reminder that he is not above the law. It remains to be seen how much more legal trouble Trump can take before voters turn against him. However, it is clear that these latest developments would not seem to be promising news.”

Meanwhile, in the superseded indictment unsealed on Thursday, Smith unveiled the three additional criminal charges against Trump related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents and his alleged efforts to obstruct investigators’ efforts to return them to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The new charges include two counts of obstructing justice that stem from prosecutors’ accusations that Trump attempted to delete security footage at Mar-a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach, Florida, last summer amid the DOJ’s investigation. Prosecutors also charged him with one count of willfully retaining a top-secret document based off an audiotape of him speaking with guests at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July 2021.

Smith previously indicted Trump on 37 counts, including 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information, related to the classified documents case, to which the former president pleaded not guilty to in June.

The former president also faces a previous indictment on the state-level by a Manhattan grand jury for allegedly falsifying business records related to a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, which he pleaded not guilty to in March. Trump is also widely expected to soon face charges in Georgia from Fulton County’s District Attorney Fani Willis related to his efforts to change the state’s election results in his favor during the 2020 presidential election.


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