Trump Sues ABC for Defamation

( US media organization ABC News and host George Stephanopoulos face a lawsuit from former president Donald Trump, after Stephanopoulos falsely claimed that Trump was found liable for rape. Stephanopoulos made the claim during an interview with US Congresswoman Nancy Mace, whom the host questioned for her support of Trump.

Stephanopoulos asked Mace—a survivor of rape—about how she reconciles her endorsement of Trump with the verdict of a New York jury, which found the former president liable for sexual abusing writer E. Jean Carroll. However, Stephanopoulos falsely claimed that the jury found Trump liable for rape.

Stephanopoulos’ claim was made with “actual malice” or reckless disregard for the truth, Trump attorney Alejandro Brito said in a court filing. The filing requests unspecified damages from Stephanopoulos and ABC News, as well as a trial by jury.

The New York jury did not find sufficient evidence to prove Carroll’s rape accusations, but found Trump liable for battery and defamation. The decision is currently subject to an appeal.

During the interview with Stephanopoulos, Mace noted that the verdict was the result of a civil, not a criminal, case. Mace also accused Stephanopoulos of attempting to “shame” her as a rape survivor.

Moreover, Mace later pointed to the actions of individuals like Stephanopoulos as the reason Americans have lost trust in the media. Mace said that Stephanopoulos is a “stain on the profession of journalism” and characterized him as a Democratic partisan; prior to his work at ABC, Stephanopoulos served as White House Communications Director and Senior Advisor to the President under Bill Clinton.

Mace urged fellow Republicans to refrain from appearing on ABC until Stephanopoulos is held accountable for his false claims. ABC has yet to issue a retraction or apologize for the incident as of this writing.

Trump has long been a critic of so-called “fake news” and is willing to bring his opposition to the courts in this case. Trump is already a defendant in several legal cases leading up to Election Day in November, but now finds himself as a plaintiff in another.

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