Trump Threatens to Sue CNN Over “Biased Reporting Practices”

But legal experts dismiss the the case's merits

Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Debate in Miami on 2016.
Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Debate in Miami on 2016.
RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images
By Kirk Miller / October 21, 2019 10:49 am

A lawyer representing President Trump is threatening to sue CNN over “biased reporting practices,” according to a letter received by CNN President/CEO Jeffrey Zucker and EVP David Vigilante.

“Statements like ‘excellence in journalism,’ ‘most trusted source for news and information,’ ‘commitment to the truth and facts’ and ‘truly fair and balanced’ are statements that would be widely considered throughout the journalism community and news industry as journalism that complies with industry-accepted codes of ethics,” notes Trump’s personal attorney Charles Harder in his letter, where he also claims the cable network violates the Lanham Act (which prohibits trademark infringement and false advertising) and has employees driven “by a personal vendetta” against the President, as recently suggested by the right-wing Project Veritas organization.

Harder says his client “intend(s) to file legal action against you, to seek compensatory damages, treble damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, reimbursement of legal costs, and all other available legal and equitable remedies, to the maximum extent permitted by law,” although no lawsuit currently exists.

As MediaPost reports, Harder represented wrestler Hulk Hogan in an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the media site Gawker that eventually drove that company into bankruptcy.

If you listen to the legal community, don’t expect much to come of this. As former U.S. Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal noted on Twitter, “If the legal claims in his letter are any indication, I would think CNN will want him to sue and have a court decide this one.”

CNN also released a statement, “This is nothing more than a desperate PR stunt and doesn’t merit a response.”

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