Judge tells Devin Nunes’ family they need evidence of false reporting to sue for defamation
Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) family had an awkward moment in court this week when their defamation lawsuit against Esquire went awry. Defamation is when you knowingly and falsely attack someone. In this case, the U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams had a hard time finding the false information.
According to the Courthouse News Service, Judge Williams, an appointee from President Donald Trump, issued a 20-page ruling that took issue with the original complaint from the Nunes family. He explained that the family has failed to specify how the allegedly defamatory Esquire magazine article was inaccurate.
The story, written by Ryan Lizza, revealed that the Nunes farm actually moved from the congressman’s district years ago and they’re now operating out of Iowa. The story became a major talking point in the last election, because Nunes claims that he is a dairy farmer, but Lizza reported that the Nunes dairy farm was halfway across the country from where Nunes was running for Congress.
“Nunes’ father and brother, who operate NuStar Farms in Sibley, Iowa, which they purchased in 2007 after selling the family farm in California, filed a separate suit in January making many of the same allegations,” the report said. “Nunes’s suit asks for $77.5 million in damages and the Nunes family seeks $25 million.”
“If plaintiffs do not file an amended complaint, the court may dismiss this matter without further action by defendants,” the ruling states.
“The remainder of plaintiffs’ complaint is bereft of any factual allegations pertaining to the truth or falsity of the challenged statements. Rather, the remainder of plaintiffs’ complaint is conclusory in nature,” the judge wrote. “Without knowing which of the facts plaintiffs allege are actually false, defendants are left not knowing how to answer the complaint.”
The Congressman is also suing a Twitter account @DevinCow claiming to be a cow from the Nunes herd. The parody account has poked fun at the Congressman since it was revealed his family moved away from the Congressman. According to the court filing in that case, the cow could not comply with a subpoena because cows do not have thumbs.
Nunes is also suing his hometown newspaper The Fresno Bee, through McClatchy News, for a story about a winery hosting events with prostitutes and illegal drugs. Nunes reportedly owned part of the winery at the time.
It is unknown who is paying for the many lawsuits that Nunes has launched against those who mock him.