GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN seeking $435,350,000 in damages for what he called a “hit piece” last month about his supposed ties to an allegedly crooked former Ukrainian prosecutor.
The California lawmaker, one of President Trump’s staunchest defenders in the House impeachment inquiry, alleged that the cable network — which he described in the 47-page document as “the mother of fake news” — published a “demonstrably false hit piece.”
CNN reported that a lawyer for Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani who is under federal indictment, said Parnas was willing to testify that Nunes met last year with the ex-prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in Austria to dig for dirt on former veep Joe Biden.
Nunes asserted in the suit that he never traveled to Austria in 2018 and that he never met with or spoke to Shokin, who was fired for reportedly not aggressively fighting the country’s rampant corruption.
Nunes’ suit — filed in federal court in Virginia — contends that he was in Libya and Malta at the time Parnas said he was in Austria.
Shokin also denied ever meeting with Nunes after CNN’s Nov. 22 report.
Nunes also claimed that CNN ran the story — which he refused to comment on at the time — as an “unmitigated act of retaliation against” him because he won’t talk to the network.
The lawsuit also denied the network’s report that Nunes spoke with Parnas around the time of his alleged trip to Vienna in late 2018.
This isn’t Nunes’ first suit against a media company.
In 2018, he sued the McClatchy newspaper company for $150 million over a Fresno Bee report on a winery that Nunes has a stake in reportedly hosting a work party that allegedly included prostitutes and cocaine, USA Today reported.
Last month, he filed a suit against Hearst, the publisher of Esquire magazine, and reporter Ryan Lizza for an article about his family farm moving to Iowa in 2007.
In March, he filed a $250 million lawsuit against Twitter, accusing the social media website of killing conservative content.
He also named as defendants two parody accounts based on mocking him, “Devin Nunes’ Cow” and “Devin Nunes’ Mom” — sparking a spike in the accounts’ followers.
Parnas was arrested in October on charges of illegally funneling money to a pro-Trump PAC and other politicians, and has pleaded not guilty.
He “remains committed to providing testimony to Congress about the substance of the phone calls that have been identified,” his lawyer said Tuesday.