A judge has just dismissed the defamation lawsuit that former President Donald Trump had brought against CNN.
According to Reuters, the ruling, from U.S. Judge Raag Singhal - a Trump appointee - was published on Friday night.
In the lawsuit, Trump accused CNN of defaming him by using the phrase, "the big lie," and by allegedly comparing him to Adolf Hitler. CNN has used "the big lie" to refer to Trump's claim that there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit, which was filed in October 2022, highlighted five instances in which CNN either published stories or aired comments referring to Trump's assertions about the 2020 election as his "big lie." The phrase is also associated with the Nazi regime's use of propaganda. The wording, the lawsuit said, constituted "a deliberate effort by CNN to propagate to its audience an association between the plaintiff and one of the most repugnant figures in modern history."
Judge Singhal, however, did not agree with Trump's assertion that CNN's statements were defamatory. And, it appears that Singhal's ruling is grounded upon his finding that CNN's statements were statements of opinion rather than of fact.
In his ruling, Singhal wrote, "Like Trump and CNN personalities . . . the Court finds Nazi references in the political discourse (made by whichever ‘side’) to be odious and repugnant. But bad rhetoric is not defamation when it does not include false statements of fact."
Singhal, in his ruling, reasoned:
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.
“Being 'Hitler-like' is not a verifiable statement of fact that would support a defamation claim,” Singhal added.
Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung released a statement on Singhal's ruling on Saturday.
"We agree with the highly respected judge's findings that CNN's statements about President Trump are repugnant," Cheun wrote.
He added, "CNN will be held responsible for their wrongful mistreatment of President Trump and his supporters."
The big question is whether this means that Trump and his legal team will appeal the decision.
Cheung, it ought to be noted, did not say that Trump agrees with Singhal's ruling - only that Trump agrees with Singhal's finding that "CNN's statements . . . are repugnant."
We'll have to see if Trump decides to appeal. Chances are that he will not. It is likely that Trump knew that this was not that strong of a case to begin with, at least from a legal standpoint.