A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit Donald Trump filed against CNN in which the former U.S. president claimed that references in news articles or by the network's hosts to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election as "the Big Lie" were tantamount to comparing him to Adolf Hitler.
Trump had been seeking punitive damages of $475 million in the federal lawsuit filed last October in South Florida, claiming the references hurt his reputation and political career. Trump is a candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in what is his third run for the presidency as a major-party candidate.
U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal, who was appointed by Trump, said Friday in his ruling that the former president's defamation claims failed because the references were opinions and not factual statements. Moreover, it was a stretch to believe that, in viewers' minds, that phrase would connect Trump's efforts challenging the 2020 election results to Nazi propaganda or Hitler's genocidal and authoritarian regime, the judge said.
"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," the judge wrote in his decision.
Email messages seeking comment were sent to Trump's attorneys in South Florida and Washington. CNN declined to comment on Sunday.