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A Manhattan judge on Friday tossed a defamation lawsuit against CNN brought by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in 2019.

The state of play: U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain threw out the suit, which sought $435 million in damages, because Nunes "failed to request a retraction in a timely fashion or adequately state his claims," AP writes.

  • The judge cited a technicality, finding that California law applied to the case and Nunes had failed to request a retraction as is mandatory under state law. The congressman's attorney claimed the laws of Virginia or Washington, D.C., should apply, but the judge ruled that it made more sense to use the laws of Nunes’ home state.

What she's saying: "The California Civil Code limits a defamation plaintiff's recovery to special damage unless the plaintiff makes a specific written demand for a retraction within a short period of time," the judge wrote.

  • "The notice and demand must be served within 20 days after knowledge of the publication or broadcast of the statements claimed to be libelous."
  • "The AC, which was filed over two months after the original release of the Ward Article and the Cuomo Prime Time interview, does not allege that any written request was served upon CNN, much less a request that identified the statements that Nunes may have considered defamatory."
  • Additionally, "the AC does not plead plausibly that Plaintiff suffered any special damages and thus fails to state a defamation claim upon which relief may be granted."

Context: Nunes' lawsuit said that CNN purposefully released a false report that claimed the California Republican — who was chair of the House Intelligence Committee at the time — met with Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in 2018 to collect possibly damaging information on President Biden.

  • CNN said Vicky Ward, the author of the report, was using testimony by Lev Parnas, a businessman who worked with Rudy Giuliani, and that it was not reporting on the accuracy of Parnas' testimony but rather on what it alleged.
  • The network's attorneys added that Nunes declined to comment for the story prior to its publication and instead "waited until it appeared and then filed this suit seeking more than $435 million in damages — labeling CNN ‘the mother of fake news,'" per AP.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
42 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Fed could be firing up economic stimulus in disguise

Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard at a "Fed Listens" event. Photo: Eric Baradat / AFP via Getty Images.

Even as global growth expectations increase and governments pile on fiscal spending measures central bankers are quietly restarting recession-era bond-buying programs.

Driving the news: Comments Tuesday from Fed governor Lael Brainard suggest the Fed may be jumping onboard the global monetary policy rethink and restarting a program used following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Democrats' hypocrisy moment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be facing explicit calls to resign from President Biden on down, if you apply the standard that Democrats set for similar allegations against Republicans. And it's not a close call.

Why it matters: The #MeToo moment saw men in power run out of town for exploiting young women. Democrats led the charge. So the silence of so many of them seems more strange — and unacceptable by their own standards — by the hour.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say.