Former American president Donald Trump filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN, alleging that the network had engaged in a “campaign of libel and slander” against him and sought $475 million in punitive damages.
Trump alleges in his complaint, which was submitted on Monday, October 3, to the U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that CNN utilised its significant influence as a preeminent news source to undermine him politically.
Trump, a Republican, claims in the 29-page lawsuit that CNN had a long track record of criticizing him but had ramped up its attacks in recent months because the network feared that he would run again for president in 2024.
“As a part of its concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the left, CNN has tried to taint the Plaintiff with a series of ever-more scandalous, false, and defamatory labels of ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler,'” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit lists several instances in which CNN appeared to compare Trump to Hitler, including a January 2022 special report by host Fareed Zakaria that included footage of the German dictator.
Trump, who in 2020 lost a re-election bid to Democrat Joe Biden, has not said whether he would seek re-election.
The lawsuit comes as Trump faces considerable legal woes, including a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for retaining government records at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after leaving office in January 2021.