Judge Dimisses Nunes Defamation Suit Against CNN on Technicality

February 19, 2021 Updated: February 19, 2021

A federal judge in New York on Friday cited a technicality in dismissing a defamation lawsuit brought by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) against CNN.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain dismissed the lawsuit on a technicality, saying that Nunes failed to demand a retraction as is required by California’s defamation statutes. The attorney for Nunes had argued that the laws from Virginia and Washington should apply, but the judge disagreed, opining that California law should apply since that’s the state which sent Nunes to Congress.

Nunes sued CNN for $435 million in damages alleging that the cable news company intentionally published a false article in late 2019 which claimed that he had traveled to Vienna on a mission to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

CNN claimed to have a source for the claim. The source, Lev Parnas, has pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court to charges alleging he made illegal contributions to politicians he thought could aid his political and business interests.

Parnas, whose trial is scheduled for October, is an associate of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giulini.

Parnas and another co-defendant worked with Giuliani to try to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden’s son, the prosecutors in Parnas’s case said. Giuliani has said he knew nothing about the political contributions by the men. He has not been charged. The Nunes lawsuit said Parnas was telling lies to try to get immunity.

“It was obvious to everyone—including disgraceful CNN—that Parnas was a fraudster and a hustler. It was obvious that his lies were part of a thinly-veiled attempt to obstruct justice,” the lawsuit said.

In court papers, CNN lawyers said Nunes and his staff had declined to comment prior to publication on whether Nunes had met with a Ukrainian prosecutor.

“Instead of denying the report before it was published, Rep. Nunes waited until it appeared and then filed this suit seeking more than $435 million in damages—labeling CNN ‘the mother of fake news,’” CNN lawyers wrote. “In his rush to sue, however, Rep. Nunes overlooked the need first to request a retraction.”

The Epoch Times sent a request for comment to Nunes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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