Constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz’s lawsuit against CNN for its coverage of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will go on as expected after a judge denied the network’s motion to dismiss.
On Tuesday, the Hollywood Reporter noted that Dershowitz has alleged that the Fake News network produced an edited version of his remarks and a misleading narrative about his views that harmed his reputation as a scholar. He’s seeking $300 million in damages.
CNN argued against the suit that the network was protected by the Fair Report Privilege, which shields the media from reporting about government proceedings. But nothing shields against outright lying and falsehood deceptions as CNN has just learned.
While he was representing former President Donald Trump in the 2020 Senate impeachment trial sham, Dershowitz was asked by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) if a president can be impeached and removed from office for taking an action that was motivated by a desire to be re-elected.
“Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest and, mostly you are right, your election is in the public interest, and if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” Dershowitz said in response.
Joe Lockhart, who worked for former President Bill Clinton, while discussing Dershowitz’s response to Senator Cruz, said of his response that it was “absurd” that Dershowitz believed that a president had “license to commit crimes” if it was better for the country. Except that’s not what the lawyer said.
Paul Begala, a political operative who also worked for former President Bill Clinton, agreed with Lockhart.
“The Dershowitz Doctrine would make presidents immune from every criminal act, so long as they could plausibly claim they did it to boost their re-election effort,” Begala said. “Campaign finance laws: out the window. Bribery statutes: gone. Extortion: no more.”
US District Court Judge Raag Singhal agreed with Dershowitz that a misleading presentation nullifies any such protection from the Fair Report Privilege as a defense.
“CNN presented an abridgment of Dershowitz’ answer to Senator Cruz’s question,” Singhal wrote in his decision on Monday. “The abridgment is not accurate, to the extent that it omitted a crucial qualification: that an illegal motive for a quid pro quo would be corrupt.
“As a result, the commentators’ statements – that Dershowitz believes a President can do anything, even commit crimes if it would help his re-election – are not based upon a fair and accurate summary of Dershowitz’ statement to the Senate.”
The Left will cry foul because Judge Singhal was appointed to the bench by President Trump. How many times has the Left gone judge shopping for Democrat judges? And besides, I thought leftist Chief Justice John Roberts said that there are no Republican judges and Democrat judges.
Singhal said that CNN has fallen short of a standard of fairness even though he agreed with the fake news network that journalists do have discretion and aren’t obligated to present all information that puts its subject in a positive light. In other words, journalists don’t have to present exculpatory information if they don’t want to, but they cannot make things up to harm someone.
CNN also argued that there are other grounds for dismissal saying that the alleged defamatory statements were only opinions and that there was nothing to support malice which is the intention or desire to do evil.
The judge said that the statements mixed opinions with some factual foundation and that means it can be challenged as false.
Dershowitz purported that CNN had prior knowledge of his qualified views on the topic of unlawful actions by a president.
“Whether the evidence adduced will ultimately satisfy Dershowitz’ burden of proving actual malice by clear and convincing evidence remains to be seen,” the judge wrote. “But he has alleged enough to go forward.”
A retired law professor from Harvard University, Dershowitz filed the lawsuit against CNN back in September.
Dershowitz’s lawsuit maintained that CNN painted him as an “intellectual who had lost his mind” when they aired a clip of his comments during the Senate impeachment trial that omitted a part of his statement.
“Following the airing of that clip over and over again, the hosts, together with their panel guests, including CNN employees and paid commentators, exploded into a one-sided and false narrative that Professor Dershowitz believes and argued that as long as the President believes his re-election is in the public interest, that he could do anything at all – including illegal acts – and be immune from impeachment,” the lawsuit reads.
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“The very notion of that was preposterous and foolish on its face, and that was the point: to falsely paint Professor Dershowitz as a constitutional scholar and intellectual who had lost his mind.”
Rich is a conservative syndicated opinion writer and owner of Maga-Chat.com. He writes about politics, culture, liberty, and faith.
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