Heard on the Hill

It’s Devin Nunes v. World when it comes to lawsuits

California Republican has sued parody Twitter accounts, media, others

A protester holds up a puppet of California Rep. Devin Nunes on Nov. 20 as Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. Nunes has threatened to sue media outlets that reported he met with Ukrainian officials to get help compiling a committee report when he was chairman of the Intelligence panel. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Devin Nunes has been a high-profile participant in the impeachment inquiry as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, but since March, the California Republican has also filed six lawsuits, the most recent one reportedly against CNN. He’s also threatened to sue The Daily Beast. Here’s where the six lawsuits stand.

Cows and moms

In March, Nunes filed a $250 million defamation suit against Twitter and two parody accounts — Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom — and Liz Mair, a Republican consultant, alleging that Cow and Mom accused him of being a Russian spy who was friends with racists. Twitter sought to dismiss the suit, but in October, a judge in Virginia allowed the case to go forward. Also in October, Nunes’ lawyer sent a letter to Nunes’ 2018 Democratic opponent, Andrew Janz, demanding Janz make the person behind the cow account stop. Janz’s lawyer rejected that demand.

Cocaine and prostitutes 

In April, Nunes sued the Fresno Bee and its parent company, McClatchy, for $150 million over a 2018 story that reported he was an investor in a winery being sued for civil rights violations. A winery employee alleged that a charity auction held aboard a winery-owned yacht featured cocaine and prostitutes, some possibly underage. (Nunes did not attend and says he was unaware of the event.) Nunes’ lawyer said the story falsely implied “that he was involved with cocaine and underage prostitutes.” Nunes’ lawsuit also named as a co-defendant Mair for acting to conspire with the Bee. The suit remains active.

Secret farms and immigrants 

In September, Nunes filed a $77.5 million suit against journalist Ryan Lizza and Hearst Magazines for an August 2018 Esquire story alleging that Nunes’ parents had quietly moved their farm from California to Iowa and that they were employing undocumented immigrants.

Fusion GPS 

In September, Nunes filed a $9.9 million suit against the opposition research firm most famous for commissioning the “Steele dossier” and a liberal watchdog group, Campaign for Accountability, accusing them of racketeering and attempting to interfere with the Trump-Russia investigation. Campaign for Accountability filed to dismiss the suit.

‘Fake Farmer’ 

Nunes sued four of his constituents, claiming they were part of a coordinated campaign with “dark money” groups that accused him of falsely implying he was a farmer. He dropped the suit in September.

Meeting on Ukraine

In November, CNN reported that Nunes had met with Viktor Shokin, an ousted Ukrainian prosecutor, in Vienna, Austria, in 2018. Fox News reported that Nunes filed a $435 million defamation suit Tuesday in the Eastern District of Virginia, in which he denied having ever met with, spoken to or otherwise communicated with Shokin. A check of PACER, an online federal court case locator, did not yield any results at press time for such a suit.

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