Steven Biss, an attorney with relatively close ties to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), has been sanctioned by a federal judge and has thus been ordered to cover legal fees for CNN over a “frivolous” case that he tried to land against the network. Law & Crime describes Biss as “best known for representing [Nunes] in a series of failed defamation lawsuits against media companies.” His failures, apparently, are continuing.
The case that has now culminated in sanctions hinged on defamation claims against CNN, insisting that the network was guilty over a report that they published alleging that ex-Giuliani associate Lev Parnas “was prepared to provide Congress with testimony in connection with Donald Trump’s first impeachment proceeding,” as summarized by Law & Crime. Specifically, CNN reported that Parnas was ready to testify that Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin as part of an effort to procure damaging information about the Bidens.
The impeachment proceedings in which Parnas was alleged to have been ready to play a part hinged on Trump’s own efforts to get similar Ukraine-tied “dirt” on the Bidens.
Biss brought the original case on behalf of top Nunes aide Derek Harvey, Parnas, and Parnas’s attorney Joseph Bondy. The case, however, was dismissed with prejudice back in March after Biss filed an amended complaint that the judge has described as “nothing more than a repetition of the original complaint with no new material factual allegations.” As federal Judge Richard Bennet — who dished out the sanctions — put it, Biss had “unreasonably and vexatiously extended this matter in bad faith by filing the last-minute Amended Complaint, which did not in any way seek to cure the deficiencies previously addressed by this Court.”
As such, Bennet has concluded that Biss is responsible for certain legal fees incurred by CNN, including a total of over $21,000. Bennet noted in his new ruling formalizing the sanctions that CNN’s legal team outlined that “despite the Plaintiff’s amendments to the original Complaint, the remaining five allegedly defamatory statements [in their Amended Complaint] failed to meet each of the requirements of a defamation claim.” In this context, those requirements included a demonstration of “defamatory meaning,” a showing of “actual malice” on CNN’s part, and more.