The $475 million lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, alleges the cable network carried out a campaign of “libel and slander” against the former president and used its influence as a news organization “for the purpose of defeating him politically.”
The suit also names on-air personalities on CNN and said they used the term “the Big Lie” — a term associated with Nazi Germany — to refer to Trump’s repeated, false insistence that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
Although Trump announced his intent to sue the network earlier this summer, past skeptics have noted that he might threaten lawsuits about other people’s words but rarely files them ― probably because the discovery process could force him to answer embarrassing questions under oath.
In addition, defamation suits can be hard to win, especially if a media outlet can prove that the allegedly defamatory statements are actually true.
Not surprisingly, news of the lawsuit attracted lots of Twitter mockery, including from notable Trump critics.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨:
Local lying liar who lies claims reputation was damaged by news reports saying he lied https://t.co/m9R8iwnyOL
— George Conway🌻 (@gtconway3d) October 3, 2022
I have written so many CNN articles slamming Trump - I hope he named me as a defendant!! https://t.co/lDl0FqAWqc
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) October 3, 2022
Oh, to be a fly on the wall during discovery!
Trump sues CNN for 'fake news' -- and demands $475 million in compensation https://t.co/Ful9pOwRsh
— Joe Leydon (@JoeLeydon) October 3, 2022
Actual language from Trump's lawsuit against CNN:
"No matter how lovely a voice she may have, [Linda] Ronstadt is a singer, not a historian. The interview is merely a pretext to repeat CNN’s message under the guise of real 'reporting.' " pic.twitter.com/Swznjt6y93
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) October 3, 2022
I'm suing Trump, I want the 4 years of my life back!
Trump sues CNN for 'fake news' -- and demands $475 million in compensation https://t.co/O75GmyvM6V
— Saverio Guerra (@saverio825) October 3, 2022
I would pay to watch this. After Trump spent years publicly defaming CNN in every public appearance. These two deserve each other. https://t.co/32kcFOkbj3
— Reid Ribble (@RepRibble) October 3, 2022
I just love the idea that Trump wants to prove in court he's not an insurrectionist, racist, Russian-lackey or that he shares some traits w/Hitler. (It will never get that far. Because he would be obliterated. Unless current CNN owners want to throw him a bone and "settle." Ugh.) https://t.co/aSzCDCaPEN
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) October 3, 2022
Truth is an absolute defense against accusations of defamation
Donald Trump sues CNN for $475 million for calling him an insurrectionist, racist, Russian-lackey, and comparing him to Hitler. https://t.co/KgSduHRSWzpic.twitter.com/AVRq2KC9eg
— Tomi T Ahonen Celebrates Liberation Of Lyman (@tomiahonen) October 3, 2022
The First Amendment protects the right to opine that Donald Trump is a racist, demagogic insurrectionist and compare him to any number of dictators.
— Adam Steinbaugh (@adamsteinbaugh) October 3, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.