Donald Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN, seeking $475 million (£420 million) in punitive damages on the grounds that the network engaged in a “campaign of libel and slander” against him.
In his lawsuit, the former president of the United States, age 76, claims that CNN used its considerable influence as a leading news organisation to defeat him politically.
According to the Reuters news agency, the company declined to comment on the case.
Mr. Trump alleges in his 29-page lawsuit that CNN has a long history of criticising him, but has intensified its attacks in recent months out of fear that he will run for president again in 2024.
As part of a concerted effort to tilt the political balance to the left, CNN allegedly attempted to tarnish the plaintiff with a series of increasingly scandalous, false, and defamatory labels, including ‘racist,’ ‘Russian lackey,’ ‘insurrectionist,’ and ultimately ‘Hitler.’
Also included is a January 2022 special report by host Fareed Zakaria that included footage of the German dictator.
The Republican, who lost his re-election bid in 2020 to Democrat Joe Biden, has not stated whether he will run again.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, comes as the Justice Department investigates the former president for keeping government records at his Mar-a-Lago estate in the southern state after he leaves office in January 2021.
Mr. Trump and three of his children were served with a lawsuit last month, alleging “years of bank, tax, and insurance fraud.”
Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, is suing the former president, his family, and the Trump Organization.
If successful, it could prevent Mr. Trump from conducting business in the state for years, and includes a referral for potential federal prosecution.
Ms. James stated that the penalties could amount to a “death penalty” for his organisation.
A congressional committee is investigating the assault on the US Capitol by Trump supporters on 6 January 2021, with a focus on the former president’s role in the attack.