By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal appeals court said Devin Nunes, the former California congressman and an ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, cannot revive his defamation lawsuit against CNN over reports he was involved in efforts to uncover damaging Ukraine-related information about Joe Biden.
In a 2-1 decision on Thursday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said Nunes failed to seek a correction fast enough, or show he deserved “special damages” for economic loss.
Circuit Judge William Nardini said the trial judge “did not err” in finding that Nunes did not comply with applicable California law governing retractions, and thus his $435 million lawsuit should be dismissed with prejudice.
CNN is a unit of Warner Bros Discovery Inc.
A lawyer for Nunes did not immediately respond to requests for comment. CNN’s lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Nunes sued over a Nov. 22, 2019 article that said Lev Parnas, a then-indicted associate of former Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, was willing to testify before Congress that Nunes met in 2018 with a former Ukrainian prosecutor to discuss “digging up dirt” on Biden, a Democrat and now U.S. president.
The former Republican congressman also objected to a broadcast of CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” where the reporter and host Chris Cuomo discussed his alleged role in “looking for dirt” on Biden and his son Hunter.
Nunes denied the accusations, said his reputation was damaged, and branded CNN “the mother of fake news.”
Circuit Judge Steven Menashi dissented from Thursday’s decision, saying the laws of New York, where the reporter and Cuomo worked, governed Nunes’ claims.
Trump appointed all three judges on the appeals court panel.
Nunes has sued several news organizations in recent years.
On April 1, another federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of Nunes’ $250 million lawsuit claiming the Washington Post defamed him by implying he lied to Trump about who attended a Feb. 2020 intelligence briefing concerning Russia.
Nunes left Congress in December to become chief executive of the social media venture Trump Media & Technology Group.
Parnas is awaiting sentencing after being convicted in October on campaign finance charges.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)