OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The Trump Media and Technology Group, which owns the Truth Social platform, has filed a monster lawsuit against the Washington Post, alleging the news outlet defamed and libeled the tech company.
The lawsuit, filed in a state court in Sarasota, Fla. — where TMTG is headquartered — comes on the heels of a large defamation settlement Fox News made with Dominion Voting Systems.
The technology company is seeking more than $3.7 billion from the Post.
The suit says:
On March 15, 2023, the Guardian published an online article entitled “Federal investigators examined Trump Media for possible money laundering, sources say”. (the “Guardian Article”). The Guardian Article contained false statements and defamatory implications, including that Federal investigators hadexamined TMTG “for possible money laundering”; that “New York prosecutors expanded criminal inquiry of company last year and examined acceptance of $8m with suspected Russian ties”; and that “Federal prosecutors in New York involved in the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s social media company last year started examining whether it violated money laundering statutes in connection with the acceptance of $8m with suspected Russian ties”.
The source of the Guardian’s false and defamatory “money laundering” charges was a former employee of TMTG, Will Wilkerson (“Wilkerson”), who was terminated for cause. Beginning in 2022, separate and apart from any purported disclosures he may have made to the government, Wilkerson began to concoct and publicly shop false stories about TMTG to numerous media outlets.
“By May 2023, Wilkerson had come up with yet another fake news story. Wilkerson knew that WaPo eagerly published false stories about TMTG, its CEO, Devin Nunes (“Nunes”) and, of course, former President Donald Trump. Wilkerson contacted WaPo with a salacious story about a porn-friendly bank and securities fraud. Through a series of meetings and conversations with Wilkerson and his lawyers, WaPo undertook with Wilkerson to publish agreed false and defamatory statements to injure TMTG,” the suit continues.
It adds that the Post published a May 13 story headlined, “Trust linked to porn-friendly bank could gain a stake in Trump’s Truth Social.”
The suit goes on to allege the Post “published an egregious hit piece that falsely accused TMTG of securities fraud and other wrongdoing” and “has been on a years-long crusade against TMTG characterized by the concealment of relevant information in its possession.”
“WaPo’s false criminal charges exposed TMTG to public ridicule, contempt, and distrust, and injured TMTG’s business and reputation,” the suit said.
In an interview a year ago, Nunes, who previously served as a Republican lawmaker from California, provided a big update regarding Trump’s social media platform, speaking to Fox News host Maria Bartiromo about cracking down on the tyranny of Big Tech by restoring free speech.
“At Truth Social, we cannot use any of the ‘tech giants’ because we don’t want to be in a position to be shut down,” Nunes said. “So now as we move forward, you know, we launched on the Apple App Store first. We just [launched] this week: TruthSocial.com, anyone can sign up on any device and get an account.”
Bartiromo asked Nunes his thoughts on a Republican-led bill being floated at the time that would break up Google’s monopoly on online advertising.
The “Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act” would level the playing field for companies making more than $20 billion in digital ad revenue, busting Google’s stronghold over Alphabet Inc.
Nunes commented on the bill, “I think what I really see is a lack of willingness by DOJ to actually bring these anti-trust cases against these companies.”
He noted that at Truth Social, “we don’t want to be beholden to Google” to generate ad revenue.
“People are coming in droves. They continue to sign up. We continue to let them on as quickly as we possibly can,” Nunes added.