The WaPo has gotten itself in trouble with the judge who will be hearing the lawsuit for defamation brought by Rep Devin Nunes. The judge has ruled that the WaPo acted without regard to facts they had already reported on previously.
That shows the paper acted recklessly in reporting that Nunes had received a briefing from Trump’s former acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire. In that meeting, it was alleged that McGuire said Russia wanted Trump reelected.
In the two articles, WaPo claimed that Nunes went to the White House and informed Trump of what McGuire said and that he ruined McGuire’s chances of keeping his job permanently. Nunes swears that he never reported the briefing to the president.
The complaint claims:
“The defamatory gist of the WaPo Hit Piece is that Plaintiff lied to and deceived the President of the United States, which caused the President to become ‘angry at his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, in the Oval Office, seeing Maguire and his staff as disloyal for speaking to Congress about Russia’s perceived preference’, which ‘furious response’ ‘ruined Maguire’s chances of becoming the permanent intelligence chief.’”
The paper said in its motion to dismiss that its correction erased any claims to malice, but U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols rejected that argument.
“A newspaper’s own prior (and correct) reporting that is inconsistent with its later (and incorrect) reporting could certainly give the paper reason to seriously doubt the truth of its later publication—just as a source’s pre-publication recantation may be evidence that a publisher had reason to doubt the source’s original claims,” Nichols, a Trump nominee, wrote in his Aug. 11 decision.
“Later in this case, Nunes will have to establish by clear and convincing evidence that, even in light of the corrections the Post did issue, it published its statements with actual malice. But for now, he has sufficiently pleaded that, in November 2020, the Post published its article with at least reckless disregard of the truth that it had previously reported,” he added.
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Nunes is suing for $250 million dollars of Jeff Bezos’ money. But even better than the money is that Nunes can now depose present and former employees over the two articles and he seems to be relishing that fact.
WaPo is not the only paper that is going to be deposed. The NY Supreme Court has ruled that Project Veritas can depose NYT employees over a fake article concerning them.
Most lawsuits against papers are dismissed because the plaintiffs have to prove malice to be successful. But in both of these cases, rulings have included the possibility of malice. That is why they will get a hearing in court.