A federal judge made good on a his warning that he'd sanction the lawyer for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who filed a series of failed defamation suits against media outlets. As Law&Crime points out, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennet ruled that Nunes' attorney, Steve Biss, had "unreasonably and vexatiously" tried to drag on their lawsuit against CNN after the case had already been dismissed with prejudice for failing to state a claim in March.
Despite the dismissal, Biss filed an amended complaint that the judge described as "nothing more than a repetition of the original complaint with no new material factual allegations."
"The original complaint — filed on behalf of Nunes's senior aide Derek Harvey against CNN, former Rudy Giuliani business associate Lev Parnas, and Parnas's attorney Joseph Bondy — stemmed from a November 2020 CNN report that said Parnas was prepared to provide Congress with testimony in connection with Donald Trump's first impeachment proceeding," Law&Crimes Jerry Lambe reports. "CNN reported that Parnas would testify, in effect, that Nunes met with former Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin 'to discuss digging up dirt of Joe Biden.'"
Harvey alleged that CNN falsely accused him of aiding and abetting a crime and sought punitive damages and a gag order.
"Harvey and Biss initially argued that CNN made 20 defamatory statements, but later filed an amended complaint that narrowed that number down to five," Lambe's report stated. "However, Judge Bennet concluded that even the trimmed down complaint contained the same "manifest deficiencies" regarding the statements in question which lacked 'defamatory meaning' and failed to 'plausibly allege material falsity' and 'actual malice.'"
According to Judge Bennet, CNN's request for $21,437 in attorney's fees was reasonable and he ruled as such.
Read the full report over at Law&Crime.