Judge Rejects CNN’s Request to Dismiss Defamation Case
U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods rejected CNN’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by family members of Michael Flynn, former national security adviser during the Trump administration.
Flynn’s brother Jack and sister-in-law Leslie are suing CNN for defamation over reports that they allege inaccurately depicted them as followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory.
“Whether the Flynns were QAnon followers, and in particular, whether the Flynns were ‘followers’ as that word is understood in the context of CNN’s publication, is a highly fact-intensive inquiry,” Woods wrote.
According to POLITICO, the Flynns deny “being followers of QAnon, a popular online conspiracy theory that claimed elites were sexually abusing children and that former President Donald Trump was planning to declare a national emergency to strike back at the shadowy figures engaged in the abuse.”
Lawyers for the network argued that tweets from Jack Flynn showed he promoted key tenants of the conspiracy theory, but the judge said the court couldn’t consider the tweets at this stage of the case.
“Even though the tweets express support for QAnon and are therefore evidence that the Flynns were QAnon followers, the Court cannot weigh evidence in deciding a motion to dismiss,” Woods wrote. “Instead, the Court’s task is to assess the legal feasibility of the complaint.”
Additionally, Woods said it wasn’t clear that the tweets established to a certainty that the Flynns were supporters of QAnon.
“The Flynns’ tweets do not conclusively contradict their factual allegations,” the judge wrote.