Trump ally Devin Nunes can sue NBCUniversal for defamation - judge




  • In US
  • 2022-11-29 01:21:54Z
  • By Reuters
 

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Monday said Devin Nunes, the former California congressman and an ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, can sue NBCUniversal for defamation over a comment by Rachel Maddow concerning his relationship with a suspected Russian agent.

Without ruling on the merits, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan said Nunes "plausibly allege[d] actual malice" with respect to a statement from a March 2021 broadcast of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Maddow was discussing a package addressed to Nunes from Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia Ukrainian legislator, and said Nunes "refused to hand it over to the FBI, which is what you should do if you get something from somebody who is sanctioned by the U.S. as a Russian agent."

Nunes' complaint, which seeks damages, said MSNBC and Maddow knew the package had been turned over, but instead "set out to inflict maximum pain and suffering on plaintiff in order to harm plaintiff's reputation."

In a 22-page decision, Castel said Maddow did not attribute Nunes' alleged refusal to any source, and that while she might have known about a similar accusation in a Politico article "a court does not weigh competing, plausible theories of actual malice on a motion to dismiss."

The judge also said other statements made by Maddow were not defamatory. Maddow is not a defendant.

NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corp, and its lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Nunes' lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach in September 2020 for trying to interfere in that year's U.S. presidential election, after he was linked to the dissemination of information to hurt then-Democratic candidate and eventual victor Joe Biden.

Nunes left Congress last December to become chief executive of the social media venture Trump Media & Technology Group.

He has sued several news organizations in recent years.

In April, federal appeals courts in New York and Washington, D.C. refused to revive defamation cases by Nunes against CNN, which is part of Warner Bros Discovery Inc, and the Washington Post.

The case is Nunes v NBCUniversal Media Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 22-01633.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Selling Trump Isn
Selling Trump Isn't What It Used to Be

When Donald Trump announced his foray into NFTs late last year, capitalizing on public interest in his presidential campaign to sell cartoonish virtual...

Eric Trump Blames Dad
Eric Trump Blames Dad's Beloved Brexit For Millions In Losses At Scottish Golf Courses

Donald Trump had hailed the U.K.'s departure from the European Union as a "great thing" for Britain and for business.

This week in politics: China spy balloon, Haley enters
This week in politics: China spy balloon, Haley enters '24 race, Omar ditched from House committee

What happened this week in politics? Biden and McCarthy met at the White House to talk debt ceiling and news of a Nikki Haley White House run leaked.

The race for the 2024 election is on. But who will take on Trump?
The race for the 2024 election is on. But who will take on Trump?

The ex-president is daring Republican challengers to make the first move - and some are preparing to attack

Republicans Push To Rename Part Of John Lewis Way In Nashville To
Republicans Push To Rename Part Of John Lewis Way In Nashville To 'Honor' Trump

Two Tennessee Democrats blasted the bill that could christen a stretch of the street named for the late civil rights icon "President Donald Trump Boulevard."

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US