US Judge Raag Singhal at the federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was nominated by Mr Trump in 2019. In a Friday night ruling, he said CNN’s statements were opinion and not fact, meaning that they cannot be the subject of a defamation claim.
“CNN’s statements while repugnant, were not, as a matter of law, defamatory,” he wrote.
A Trump spokesperson told Reuters: “We agree with the highly respected judge’s findings that CNN’s statements about President Trump are repugnant. CNN will be held responsible for their wrongful mistreatment of President Trump and his supporters.”
The spokesperson didn’t indicate if Mr Trump intends to appeal the ruling.
The lawsuit was filed in October of last year, citing five times that CNN published stories or broadcast comments calling Mr Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent the “big lie” – a phrase also linked to Nazi Germany’s propaganda.
The legal filing argued that it was “a deliberate effort by CNN to propagate to its audience an association between the plaintiff and one of the most repugnant figures in modern history”.
The judge wrote that the use of the phrase “big lie” isn’t sufficient to establish a connection.
“No reasonable viewer could (or should) plausibly make that reference,” he wrote.
Since the start of his first campaign in 2015, Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked the media, with CNN being one of his main targets.
In the face of indictments on both the state and federal levels, Mr Trump remains the favourite to win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
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