Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) has filed yet another defamation suit against a media company.
On November 11th, Nunes filed a libel suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against The Washington Post and reporter Ellen Nakashima.
According to the complaint, The Post published an article entitled, “White House official and former GOP political operative Michael Ellis named as NSA general counsel.” The article “falsely accused” Nunes of “dishonesty, deception, lying to the American public, spreading disinformation, lack of integrity, and ethical improprieties,” the complaint states.
The complaints cites two statements that Nunes claims are defamatory:
“In March 2017, [Michael Ellis] gained publicity for his involvement in a questionable episode involving Nunes, who was given access at the White House to intelligence files that Nunes believed would buttress his baseless claims of the Obama administration spying on Trump Tower.”
“News reports stated that Ellis was among the White House officials who helped Nunes see the documents — reportedly late at night, earning the episode the nickname ‘the midnight run’.”
Nunes has gained a reputation for using defamation suits as part of an effort to silence his critics.
In October 2019, Nunes sued Esquire and Hearst Magazines for defamation over an article about his family’s dairy business. That suit was dismissed on August 5, 2020.
Nunes also filed defamation suits against CNN and The Washington Post last year.
In December of 2019, Nunes filed a $435 million defamation suit against CNN, and four months later he sued The Washington Post over an article that suggested he had provided President Donald Trump with information from a closed intelligence briefing with a former Ukranian prosecutor.
Both of the suits had been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. However, in May 2020, a federal judge removed both cases from the Virginia docket, stating that because The Post is based in Washington D.C., CNN is based in New York City, and Nunes lives and works in D.C., there was “no logical connection between the events in this case and this district. ”
The judge also warned Nunes’ lawyer about forum shopping, a term used for attorneys who strategically file cases in certain courts because they think they’ll get a more favorable outcome.
“[T]he Court has significant concerns about forum shopping,” Judge Robert Payne wrote. “As the Court has explained to Plaintiff’s counsel on numerous occasions, the Court cannot stand as a willing repository for cases which have no real nexus to this district.”
It remains to be seen if the court will again remove Nunes’ lawsuit against The Post from its docket.