In a new lawsuit filed on Monday, Donald Trump—who is still extremely enraged about the false accusations of the financial losses at his Twitter clone, Truth Social—said that the reports were part of a larger media conspiracy that involved “no less than 20 major media outlets.”
Truth Social Lost $31 Million in Reality
This month’s revelations that Truth lost $73 million in 2023 prompted the lawsuit. That amount proved to be inaccurate; in reality, the corporation lost $31 million. How the problem happened is unclear. A securities filing by Digital World Acquisition Corp, which is seeking to merge with Truth Social, was the source of the first $73 million number.
Several Major News Outlets Sued
The case, filed in Sarasota County, Florida, on behalf of Trump Media & Technology Group, lists a number of prominent news organizations as plaintiffs in addition to other specialized websites focused on politics, money, or left-leaning topics. The Miami Herald and its executive editor Alex Mena, MSNBC, Newsweek, CNBC, Reuters, The Daily Beast, Mediatie, The Hill, The New York Daily News, the Daily Mail, Axios, The Hollywood Reporter, Salon, Deadline, and the Miami Herald are among them.
The $73 Million Figure “Was an Utter Fabrication”
The $73 million number “was an utter fabrication,” according to the complaint. “Each defendant, in apparent coordination, reported the exact same false number within approximately 24 hours of one another, each citing to a public Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filing, in which the mystery $73 million loss appears nowhere.”
“A Coordinated Effort” to “Torpedo” the Merger With Digital World Acquisition Corp
According to the lawsuit, there was “a coordinated effort” to damage Trump Media & Technology Group’s brand and “torpedo” the company’s merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp. In essence, the complaint claims journalism’s very existence as proof of this alleged conspiracy. The lawsuit points out that the headlines describing the losses were identical and that although the stories were revised and corrected, they were not removed.
Trump Seeks Punitive Payment of $1.5 Billion
Defamation and injurious falsehood—which is defined as the deliberate use of lies to cause harm—are the two claims made in the case. In addition to requesting a jury trial, Trump is also seeking unspecified further damages, a gag order requiring the removal of any stories regarding the losses, and a $1.5 billion punitive payout.
Lawsuit Might Conflict With Florida’s Anti-SLAPP Statutes
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press states that Florida’s anti-SLAPP statutes “prohibit lawsuits brought against individuals for exercising their right of free speech in connection with a public issue or their rights to peacefully assemble.” Based on its face, it appears that the lawsuit may be in violation of these laws. The definition of “free speech” under the act specifically includes journalists.
Echoes of the Gawker Media – Terry Bollea Lawsuit
However, even while TMTG argues that Florida is “where it does business” to justify bringing the action there, doing so undoubtedly brings to mind Terry Bollea’s 2016 lawsuit against Gawker Media, which ultimately resulted in the demise of that enterprise. A jury rendered the decision in that particular instance as well.
Gawker Unable to Raise the $150 Mil
However, Gawker’s loss in the first trial did not mean that it was destroyed. Judges have the authority under Florida law to mandate that any party wishing to appeal a lawsuit verdict deposit the whole amount of damages ordered into an escrow account before filing the appeal. The owners of Gawker were compelled to file for bankruptcy and liquidate the company’s assets because they were unable to raise the $150 million that Bollea was awarded.
Is Trump Trying to Copy Peter Thiel’s MO?
It’s unclear if Trump intends to undermine his alleged media adversaries in the same manner that Bollea’s lawsuit was reportedly funded by billionaire businessman Peter Thiel. However, it’s probably more difficult to do so over false reporting of financial data than it is over the nonconsensual sex tape that is the subject of the Gawker case.
Truth Social Replaces Twitter for Trump
Since Trump was suspended from Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram and banned from Twitter following the Capitol uprising on January 6, 2021, Truth Social, which was launched last year, has become his preferred social media platform.
Coordinated Effort to Destroy TMTG and Truth Social
The lawsuit said, though it did not allege civil conspiracy, that “TMTG intends to hold these reckless and malicious media outlets to account for their false reporting and for their seemingly coordinated effort to destroy TMTG and Truth Social.”
None Have Retracted the Defamatory Articles
While acknowledging that some outlets had updated or corrected their previous articles, TMTG added that “none have retracted the defamatory articles, publicly apologized, or taken any other steps to ameliorate the continuing damage.” TMTG had also informed the outlets of their error and requested retractions.
Plans to Advance Long-Delayed Merger With Digital World Acquisition Corporation
To move forward with its long-delayed merger with Digital World Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company, the Trump Media & Technology Group filed an amended S-4 registration statement with the SEC last week. This would enable the company to obtain a listing on the stock exchange and raise additional capital.
Hollywood Reporter Posts Correction
At the bottom of the article, The Hollywood Reporter published an update that now says: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect TMTG’s net losses as disclosed on its balance sheet. An initial read of the Nov. 13 securities filing, since updated on Nov. 14, reported that Truth Social posted a $50 million loss in 2022, when in fact that figure was listed as a profit.
Thought He Couldn’t Afford His Lawyers
People across the internet mostly found this entire lawsuit hilarious. “I thought he couldn’t afford his lawyers, how can he afford this?” said one person.
Can’t Sue Your Way Out of the Truth
“Oh man, this guy’s really out of touch with reality. Can’t sue your way out of the truth,” said another user on Reddit.
Trump Loves Losing
“Trump loves court cases and losing, oh, and being a r*pist.” remarked one person. “Just another soon-to-fail lawsuit. Familiar outcome, again,” stated another.
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