Court Rules Against Devin Nunes In Defamation Case

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Devin Nunes, the former Republican member of Congress from California who became the CEO of the Trump Media & Technology Group, has lost in his appeal of a lower court’s dismissal of his defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post. It wasn’t a split decision, either — a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt with the ex-Congressman’s bid to keep his lawsuit going, and all three judges agreed to throw it out. The nature of Nunes’s original claims against the Post is notable in part because it shows the cultishnness surrounding Trump — Nunes brought the defamation case targeting the Post in part over a notion that an article from the Post implicitly suggested he misrepresented the truth to then-President Trump. That wasn’t acceptable, apparently, as Republicans including Nunes continue their frenzied efforts to stay aligned with the ex-president.

Nunes’s case was seeking $250 million in damages. The appeals court panel concluded that Nunes had failed to bring up a single line in the original Post article that was straightforwardly false or otherwise defamatory. The former Congressman brazenly “failed to plausibly allege a claim of defamation,” the court concluded. It would appear as though the notion that Nunes lied to Trump simply wasn’t an intended part or implication of the original article. That piece in the Post was called “Senior Intelligence Official Told Lawmakers That Russia Wants to See Trump Reelected,” and — as its title suggests — it laid out how U.S. intelligence official Shelby Pierson had informed members of the House Intelligence Committee of Russian officials’ hopes for Trump’s re-election ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential contest. The original article went on to state that then-President Trump sacked Pierson’s superior, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, in a rage over the lower-level official’s remarks to Congress.

“Nunes claimed that the Post defamed him by implying that he misled Trump about who attended Pierson’s briefing, and ruined Maguire’s chance to become permanent intelligence chief,” as Reuters explains. (Trump apparently became aware of Pierson’s remarks through Nunes, who served on the intel panel at the time.) The appeals court concluded that depicting Nunes as responsible for Maguire’s troubles wasn’t an intended message from the Post, and the court also found that Trump’s reported failure to correctly understand which members of Congress received Pierson’s briefing wasn’t meant to implicate Nunes for having lied to the then-president, to whom, as mentioned, Nunes provided information about what went on. Nunes — who has filed a raft of pricey defamation lawsuits in recent years — isn’t seeing an overwhelming level of success in his post-Congress venture, which involves helping run the operation behind Truth Social, Trump’s new social media platform. Truth Social downloads on the Apple app store — the only place it’s currently available — have plummeted, and the stock price for the so-called blank check company associated with the venture has also dramatically fallen.