On May 4th, a federal judge in Maryland sanctioned Representative Devin Nunes’s longtime attorney, Steve Biss, for filing a “frivolous” defamation lawsuit against CNN.
The suit in question had been filed by Biss on behalf of Nunes’s aide, Derek Harvey, who alleged that CNN defamed him in its November 2020 report that said that Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Guiliani, was going to testify that Nunes met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor “to discuss digging up dirt on Joe Biden.”
In Harvey’s suit filed in October 2020, he alleged that CNN, along with Parnas and his attorney, accused him of participating in the commission of a criminal act. In the complaint, Harvey and Biss alleged that CNN made 20 defamatory statements.
In February, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett dismissed the case with prejudice for failing to state a valid defamation claim. But despite the court’s ruling, Biss filed an amended complaint in March that whittled down the number of allegedly defamatory statements from 20 to five.
In his ruling on May 4th, Bennett said that the amended complaint was “nothing more than a repetition of the original complaint with no new material factual allegations,” and that Biss had “unreasonably and vexatiously” attempted to continue to litigate the case.
Bennett granted CNN’s request to dismiss the amended complaint, and ordered Harvey and Biss to pay the network’s legal fees in the amount of $21,437.
Biss, who has filed at least six defamation suits on behalf of Nunes, had been previously sanctioned by the Virginia State Bar for a “deliberately wrongful act,” and was barred from practing law for one year in 2008, according to Law & Crime.