Indian American official Kash Patel has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against CNN for allegedly painting him as a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist. Patel, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism, accompanied US President Donald Trump to India in February 2020 visit.
Patel, who is leading the transition at the Pentagon, has accused CNN of publishing false statements and promoting "unfounded left-wing political narratives," Fox News reported. The complaint filed on Friday in Virginia Circuit Court also named CNN reporters Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen, Ryan Browne, Alex Marquardt and Nicole Gaouette as defendants, besides the CNN. The complaint claims that CNN published a series of articles from Nov. 24 through Dec. 4, with "false and defamatory statements" about him.
The lawsuite claimed that some of the articles included negative narrative such as -- "Trump loyalist connected to Biden conspiracy theories is leading Pentagon transition," "Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist, … was connected to efforts to spread conspiracy theories about Joe Biden," or linking him to the Russian conspiracy stating Kash "has also worked to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election," or "Pentagon blocked Biden's intelligence transition team from meeting with agencies," and "Defense Department transition office … is led by a Trump loyalist, who was connected to efforts to spread conspiracy theories about the President-elect," among others.
Patel's attorney, Steven S. Biss argued that the "publication of the Defamatory Statements is part of a general pattern of retaliation and discrimination against Kash" and "a larger conspiracy undertaken between 2018 and the present to discredit Kash through the publication of false statements and the promotion of unfounded left-wing political narratives."
"The Defendants fabricated the Defamatory Statements and knew, therefore, that the statements were false. They knew that Kash was not the source of a single conspiracy theory and had no connection to any conspiracy theory about Biden," Biss wrote.
Besides $50 million in damages, Patel has also sought a permanent injunction prohibiting CNN reporters from repeating the defamatory stories.