On Tuesday, the Fresno Bee reported that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is suing magazine writer Ryan Lizza of Esquire and his employer, Hearst Magazines.
The complaint stems from an explosive article Lizza wrote in September 2018, detailing how Nunes' family relocated their farm to western Iowa, in a place that relies heavily on undocumented labor. Nunes acknowledges that the story is generally accurate, but claims its characterization as a "politically explosive secret" — as teased in the article's title — is defamatory and was strategically and intentionally timed to injure his chances of re-election.
"They should be punished for their unlawful actions and a very strong message needs to be sent to prevent other so-called 'journalists' from acting in a similar way," the complaint states.
Nunes has almost no hope of success in this case, as he is a public figure and printing factual information with flowery language is not defamation.
But it marks the fifth defamation suit Nunes has filed this year. Among the others include a suit against an anonymous Twitter account called "Devin Nunes' cow" for saying mean things about him, three San Joaquin Valley residents for supposedly harming his campaign, and the Fresno Bee itself for a story about "cocaine and underage prostitutes," alleging "character assassination."