A federal judge entered a default judgment Wednesday against Rudy Giuliani in a defamation lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers who say they were falsely accused of participating in fraud during the 2020 presidential election.
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Feb. 3 ruling the Trump Campaign did not adequately plead the factual basis of actual malice for an allegedly defamatory Washington Post article, and ruled another was protected opinion.
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 that “falsely accused” Nunes of “dishonesty, deception, lying to the American public, spreading disinformation, lack of integrity, and ethical improprieties.”
Public officials using libel suits as a weapon against the press is nothing new. In the time of Times v. Sullivan, southern officials had brought nearly $300 million in libel actions against the press. For reference, Nunes alone has brought just over $900 million in defamation claims in a twelve-month period.
“These suits will likely fail in court but in the meantime they’ll gratify Trump’s base, distract the press and public, and deter speech and journalism that are vital to our democracy. That's presumably the point," Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University Jameel Jaffer said on Twitter.
The eight-page complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that two essays falsely accused his campaign of conspiring with foreign governments to interfere with the 2016 election.
A former House IT staffer sued the Daily Caller, reporter and book author Luke Rosiak, and Regnery Publishing for defamation. The suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court on January 28th, alleges that Imran Awan, his wife, and three others were targeted by Rosniak and the conservative news outlet who falsely accused them of crimes including hacking, espionage, and theft.
California passed a bill that would prohibit the use of “deepfake” technology to spread false information about a candidate within 60 days of an election. While some have touted the bill as a necessary step towards addressing the spread of disinformation, others, including many free speech advocates, argue that the law conflicts with First Amendment law.