Former President Donald J. Trump sued CNN on Monday, claiming that the network defamed him and demanding $475 million in damages.
Over the course of his business and political career, Mr. Trump has frequently threatened to sue media organizations over news coverage that he deems unfair or disrespectful. Although he rarely followed through, his attacks on the media became a staple of his political messaging and have often been cited in fund-raising entreaties in the run-up to this year’s midterm elections.
In 2020, his re-election campaign sued The New York Times and The Washington Post over opinion articles that linked Mr. Trump to Russian interference in American elections. His suit against The Times was dismissed; the suit involving The Post is pending.
Mr. Trump’s complaint against CNN was filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The lawsuit alleges a “campaign of dissuasion in the form of libel and slander” that, Mr. Trump asserts, has recently escalated “as CNN fears the plaintiff will run for president in 2024.”
The 29-page suit cites numerous times when CNN hosts and guests criticized Mr. Trump over his policies and his questioning of the 2020 presidential election result. It also laments that some guests have invoked Adolf Hitler and the history of Nazi Germany in criticizing Mr. Trump’s behavior. Among the on-air guests cited as having defamed Mr. Trump is the singer Linda Ronstadt.
A CNN spokesman declined to comment.
A footnote in the lawsuit shows that Mr. Trump’s representatives contacted CNN in July to give notice of prospective litigation and request that the network stop referring to Mr. Trump’s comments about the 2020 election as “lies.” According to the suit, CNN declined Mr. Trump’s request and replied, “You have not identified a single false or defamatory statement in your letter.”
In 2019, Mr. Trump threatened CNN with a lawsuit over “unethical and unlawful attacks.” CNN called that threat “a desperate P.R. stunt.” A suit never materialized.
In Monday’s suit, Mr. Trump’s lawyers justified their demand for $475 million in damages in part by alleging that CNN’s coverage has caused the former president to suffer “embarrassment, pain, humiliation and mental anguish.”