McClatchy newspapers issued a lengthy statement Tuesday evening attacking GOP Congressman Devin Nunes over his lawsuit against the media company, calling it a “baseless” attack on the free press.
“The lawsuit represents a baseless attack on local journalism and a free press. At a time when local journalism is facing more pressing and urgent challenges, the lawsuit is an unproductive distraction and a misuse of the judicial system,” McClatchy said.
Earlier this week, Nunes filed a $150 million defamation lawsuit against McClatchy over an article in one of their papers, The Fresno Bee. The Bee piece relayed the account of an employee of the Alpha Omega Winery — partly owned by Nunes — describing a drug and prostitute filled yacht ride with some of the company’s top investors.
“Representative Nunes declined the opportunity to talk to reporters from The Fresno Bee last year about his investment in the Alpha Omega Winery, the subject of his claim. Hopefully, he will provide such answers during the litigation,” the McClatchy statement continued.
In his lawsuit, Nunes accused McClatchy of character assassination.
“This is a case about character assassination and a public company that weaponized its powerful pen and used it as a terrible sword,” the suit reads.
“The defamatory implication (the gist) of McClatchy’s Yacht/Cocaine/Prostitutes story was that Nunes was involved in the cocaine/sex fueled “fundraiser.” This is immediately evident from the prominent placement of Nunes’ name alongside “prostitutes” and “cocaine” in the story’s headline.”
A representative for Nunes did not immediately respond to the latest from McClatchy.
It’s not the first time Nunes has filed a nine-figure lawsuit seeking restitution in the public sphere. The McClatchy litigation comes just weeks after Nunes filed a $250 million suit against Twitter and the the parody twitter account “Devin Nunes’ Cow.”