Devin Nunes MOOOIN' And SUIN'
MOOOOOO! Watch your feet, Wonkers, because Devin Nunes and his amazing libelslander lawyer Stephen Biss have dropped another cowpie. Last month they sued Twitter, Republican political operative Liz Mair, and a couple anonymous Twitter handles for making so many mean words about Devin that he was forced to hide in shame under his mother's pendulous udder. This time Nunes is suing McClatchy News Service, owner of his hometown paper the Fresno Bee, for scheming with Mair to "defame Plaintiff and destroy his reputation."
Now a jaded observer might suspect a cynical ploy to add Mair as a defendant to get standing in Virginia instead of California, where there's a strong anti-SLAPP law that would force Nunes to cough up for the defendants' legal bills if (and when) he loses. But those haters would be wrong!
This is a case about character assassination and a public company that weaponized its powerful pen and used it as a terrible sword.
This case is about righting a grievous injury perpetrated on the great, kind, smart, accomplished, and handsome Congressman.
Nunes was first elected to public office as one of California's youngest community college trustees in state history at the age of 23.
Speak his name with reverence, you filthy swine!
Nunes' career as a United States Congressman is distinguished by his honor, dedication and service to his constituents and his country, his honesty, integrity, ethics, and reputation for truthfulness and veracity.
Hmmmm, well that one assumes facts not in evidence. But if you want to litigate it, have at it, Cowpoke!
Okay, enough foreplay! Where's the beef?
Nunes endured a multi-front, orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life.
THEIR WHOLE LIFE!
This case involves the subversive efforts of McClatchy and its confederates to use the press as a for-pay political weapon.
To maximize the insult, embarrassment, humiliation, and injury to Nunes' reputation and as evidence of its actual malice, McClatchy chose to publish its false and defamatory statements (detailed below in haec verba) both in print in newspapers, and online via its websites, including www.fresnobee.com and www.mcclatchydc.com/, and to the Twitter universe. [Emphasis original, yeah seriously.]
So what happened? Well, McClatchy published a story last May about Alpha Omega Winery, which is partly owned by Congressman Nunes. A former employee of the winery, Alene Anase, sued the company in 2016 alleging that she and other female employees had been ordered to work an event on the company's yacht where partygoers engaged underage prostitutes and used cocaine. None of this is contested, and yet Devin Moocow Bovine Encephalitis Nunes is suing for DEFAMATION BY IMPLICATION because printing true facts about a congressman is against the law now.
The defamatory implication (the gist) of McClatchy's Yacht/Cocaine/Prostitutes story was that Nunes was involved in the cocaine/sex fueled "fundraiser." This is immediately evident from the prominent placement of Nunes' name alongside "prostitutes" and "cocaine" in the story's headline ("A yacht, cocaine, prostitutes: Winery partly owned by Nunes sued after fundraiser event"). The headline also materially mischaracterizes the event aboard the yacht as a "fundraiser" It was not a fundraiser at all. It was a cruise resulting from a charitable donation. The McClatchy headline intentionally omitted the word "charity" and labeled the event a"fundraiser" in a clear effort to imply it was a political fundraising event that a politician like Congressman Nunes would naturally attend.
Do we smell methane?
But wait! See if you can spot the slippage here.
Hmmmmm. Let's check the actual tweet.
DEAR GOD, THE LAWYER HIGHLIGHTED THE SEARCH TERMS AND THEN ACCUSED REPORTER MACKENZIE MAYS OF BOLDING THEM IN HER OWN TWEET! Which is really God's holy perfection of screwups when you're suing a reporter your client has been intentionally harassing -- ugly-like! maliciously and spitefully even! -- for months.
The Fresno Bee also refused to just take the winery's word for it that Nunes had nothing to do with the fundraiser, ooops charity event, wherein his business partners allegedly employed underage prostitutes and snorted coke, saying "It's unclear how much of Alpha Omega Nunes owns, if he was aware of the lawsuit or was affiliated with the fundraiser." Or, as Nunes transcribed it in his lawsuit, "[i]t's unclear … if he [Nunes] was… affiliated with the fundraiser."
How dare these people print true words that draw attention to the fact that Nunes parked his money with people who got sued for serving up underage prostitutes and cocaine on the company yacht? Lock them up!
McClatchy's statement that it was "unclear … if he [Nunes] was aware of the lawsuit" is similarly false and defamatory. At the time it published theYacht/Cocaine/Prostitutes article, McClatchy had no reason to believe that Nunes was ever made aware of the lawsuit.
But where does Liz Mair come in, you are asking. Well! Liz Mair retweeted the story from her home in Virginia! And Liz Mair hates Devin Nunes.
At all times relevant to this case, Mair harbored spite, ill-will, actual malice, and a desire to hurt Nunes because of Nunes' support for President Trump and Mair's deep-seeded hatred of Trump. Mair is famous for her appearance on CNN, where she referred to presidential candidate Donald Trump as a "loud mouth dick".
If deep-seated loathing of that illiterate, loud mouth dick is a crime, they're going to have to build a bigger prison. Most people would talk shit about his infected udders for free, although Devin is 100 percent sure that Mair is getting paid by ... someone.
During Nunes' re-election campaignin 2018, Mair conspired with (and presumably was paid by) one or more as-yet unknown "clients" to attack and smear Nunes.
Egads! And we know this is a dastardly conspiracy because a couple times McClatchy printed quotes from Mair, and on multiple occasions McClatchy reporters retweeted Mair's tweets making fun of the great and terrible Devin. Which is not how conspiracy works, but that's actually the least of the problems with this brief.
It's not often that you get to see an actual lawyer misstate the standard for defamation of public figure, pretend that common law outweighs the plain language of the statute, conflate libel, slander, and defamation into one tort of general meanness, and claim a right of the public to be free from true reporting if it might persuade them to vote against Devin Nunes, "to their great injury," all in the same paragraph. Looks like today is our lucky day!
Words like those employed by McClatchy and Mair in this case tending to scandalize a public figure are, in the words of William Blackstone, "reputed more highly injurious than when spoken of a private man". 3 W. Blackstone, Commentaries * 124. At common law, libel of a public official was deemed an offense "'most dangerous to the people, and deserv[ing of] punishment, because the people may be deceived and reject the best citizens to their great injury, and it may be to the loss of their liberties.'" M. Newell, Defamation, Libel and Slander § 533 (1890) (quoting Commonwealth v. Clap, 4Mass. 163, 169-170 (1808)); accord White v. Nicholls, 3 How. 266, 290 (1845). As a citizen of the United States of America and as a United States Congressman sworn to uphold the Constitution and laws of this great country, Nunes has a fundamental, core interest, private right and entitlement to the uninterrupted enjoyment of his reputation. The First Amendment neither alters Nunes' common law rights nor does it license libel or slander. The Defendants enjoy absolutely no privilege to use the Internet or social media as a weapon to defame.
So now Devin would like $150,000,000 please, to make him whole for this grievous injury. How Rep. Nunes arrived at this number is unclear -- during the time this violent assassination of his impeccable character was taking place, Nunes was reelected to Congress. But we're sure Mr. Biss has documentation to back it up should he survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (He should not.)
But that's not the craziest part! Because while he was suing Liz Mair, the Commonwealth's criminal mastermind, for colluding with a media organization, Nunes was himself colluding with a media organization to push out the story of his lawsuit. Last night he appeared on Hannity at 9 p.m. to bleat his case.
Nunes: McClatchy needs to come clean with the American peoplewww.youtube.com
I'm serious. I'm coming to clean up all of the mess. So, if you're out there and you lied and you defamed, we're going to come after you.
NARRATOR: No, he was not serious.
Approximately five minutes before Nunes went on the air, Fox dropped this story with a link to the text of the suit. Except it wasn't a copy of the docketed case from court -- you can tell because it has no case number.
And as of this morning, searching the Albemarle County docket for the last name Nunes yielded no hits.
Which means that Fox got their copy from A SOURCE. Golly, whomever could that be?
Okay, let's do this Fresno Bee style:
It is unclear whether Devin Nunes leaked an unfiled copy of his own complaint to the Fox propaganda network. As of this writing, reports that Nunes will be arrested forthwith for the murder of irony by conspiring with a media outlet to publicize his accusations that a political opponent conspired with a media outlet could not be confirmed. Mean tweets to his office using the hashtag #YachtCocaineProstitutes have not been returned.
Follow your FDF on Twitter!
Please click here to support your Wonkette, who never, ever cavorts with farm animals. ALLEGEDLY.
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.