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A libel suit brought about by the Trump campaign against CNN in March of 2020 was just thrown out by a federal judge who considered there to be a lack of evidence of malicious conduct.
The piece named in the lawsuit was an editorial which ran on June 13th, 2019, and was written by Larry Noble, a regular contributor to the CNN website.
The issue was with the statement in the editorial which read:
"... the Trump campaign assessed the potential risks and benefits of again seeking Russia’s help in 2020 and has decided to leave that option on the table."
The lawsuit was one of many filed against several media outlets who were allegedly attempting to link the Trump campaign to the Russian government. This was in the days when the now disgraced Robert Mueller had released his Russia investigation, reports Deadline.
The burden of proof in these types of libel cases is notoriously high, as one has to prove not only that what was published was false, but also that the publisher knew the information was false at the time, and published it with malicious intent against the plaintiff.
In this case US District Judge Michael L Brown felt that the plaintiff had not met the burden of proof as to malicious intent. He wrote in his decision the following:
"most of the allegations in the complaint regarding actual malice are conclusory. Plaintiff, for example, alleges in a purely conclusory manner that Defendants 'clearly had a malicious motive' and 'knowingly disregarded all . . . information when it published the Defamatory Article.'"
Brown's decision does, however, find that even editorial content can be the subject of a libel suit, since "The context of the Statement (both in the article and in Mr. Noble’s discussion of current events) suggest to readers that the Statement is a statement of fact, not opinion." This language in the decision allows for the potential filing of an amendment to the lawsuit.