In an interview for Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, an attorney for Donald Trump said she planned to sue CNN for defamation over the network’s reporting on the former president’s election fraud claims.
“CNN branded Trump as a liar, and referred to his questions regarding voter fraud as The Big Lie, which is actually linked to Adolf Hitler,” Lindsey Halligan, a Florida attorney, said.
The German expression “the big lie” was coined by Hitler in his book “Mein Kampf” to describe a lie so egregious that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
On Wednesday, Trump released a 282-page statement detailing his intent to sue CNN over their coverage of his baseless voter fraud claims, which the network called “The Big Lie.” In his statement, he defines the word “lie” as something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue.
“In this instance, President Trump’s comments are not lies: He subjectively believes that the results of the 2020 presidential election turned on fraudulent voting activity in several key states,” the former president’s letter read.
Some legal scholars have argued Trump’s stance that he believed the voter fraud falsehoods may be key to his defence, as it may make criminal intent more difficult to prove. However, Trump’s “willful blindness” to the facts of the case may, in fact, establish intent and serve as evidence.
Voter fraud claims perpetuated by the former president have been repeatedly debunked by the media, as well as conservative politicians,lawyers for the Trump administration, and allies of Trump himself.
“So it’s pretty simple: if you’re going to call someone a liar, back it up with researched, well-founded facts. Otherwise, don’t report it, don’t distort the truth,” Halligan said during an interview for the War Room podcast. “CNN responded to our letter today advising us that they will not retract the statements, so they will be getting served with a lawsuit very shortly, I believe.”
According to the latest information available through the Florida Bar Association, Halligan was previously employed with the law firm Cole, Scott & Kissane specialising in property insurance claims, but her profile has since been removed from their website. It is unclear where she is currently practising law.