Former President Donald Trump filed a $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN arguing the network has maligned him with “fake news” for the purposes of damaging his political future heading into 2024. First Amendment Watch asked First Amendment scholar Timothy Zick to annotate the 29-page lawsuit for the legal claims it made and the precedents it cited.
President Trump and his team want to ‘open up’ libel laws. The goal: to make it easier to sue media organizations for unfavorable coverage. But there is little that the President can actually do to change the libel laws. There is no federal law on libel. State laws control libel, and all such laws are subject to stringent First Amendment protections for the press and other speakers that the Supreme Court has imposed through cases such as the landmark New York Times v. Sullivan decision in 1964. However, threats to loosen the libel laws is noteworthy as part of a larger effort to criticize the press and attack its credibility.