A Donald Trump-appointed federal judge dismissed the former president’s lawsuit against CNN on Friday, ruling that referring to his fixed election claims as “The Big Lie” didn’t directly create ties between Trump and Hitler, and thus, wasn’t defamatory.
The former president, who was found liable for defamation himself back in May, first brought his nearly $500 million lawsuit against CNN back in October of 2022. In it, he claimed that the term “The Big Lie” used by network personalities to describe his countless falsehoods about the 2020 election “wrongly links Trump with the Hitler regime in the public eye.”
But in Judge Raag Singhal’s dismissal, he ruled that “this is a stacking of inferences that cannot support a finding of falsehood” and “being ‘Hitler-like’ is not a verifiable statement of fact that would support a defamation claim.”
The dismissal also pointed out that Trump’s defamation lawsuit “alleges no false statements of fact,” meaning he wasn’t challenging the truth of what CNN was saying, just the associations he felt it created in viewers’ minds.
And, while the court noted that it does find any comparisons of anyone to Nazis “odious and repugnant,” particularly in political discourse, “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,” Judge Singhal wrote. “No reasonable viewer could (or should) plausibly make that reference.”