Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post, alleging “actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth.”
TMTG, the parent company of Truth Social, is seeking a staggering $3.78 billion in damages, claiming that the Post has been engaged in a “years-long crusade” against them.
The court filing stated that the Washington Post has concealed relevant information in its possession, which is ironic considering its motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
The lawsuit was filed in Sarasota County, Florida, on Saturday night, with TMTG alleging that the Post poses an “existential threat” to their business, resulting in significant losses. The legal action was initiated by Will Wilkerson, one of TMTG’s early employees, who sued the company in October 2022 after a Post article accused them of violating security laws. The same article, based on internal documents provided by Wilkerson, also made claims that Trump had coerced employees into giving his wife stock.
According to the court complaint, Wilkerson was aware that the Washington Post had a history of publishing false stories about TMTG, its CEO Devin Nunes, and former President Donald Trump. Wilkerson allegedly collaborated with the Post, providing fabricated and defamatory statements to harm TMTG. The lawsuit contends that the Post willingly published these false claims after a series of meetings and conversations with Wilkerson.
The lawsuit specifically points to a May 2023 Post article titled “Trust linked to a porn-friendly bank could gain a stake in Trump’s Truth Social,” which TMTG’s legal team dismisses as inaccurate.
Even after disseminating the false statements to the Post’s 2.5 million readers and sharing them with their 20 million Twitter followers, the lawsuit claims that the publisher was not satisfied. Drew Harwell, the primary author of the article, allegedly republished it to his 48,000 Twitter followers, including journalists from major news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, Business Insider, and The Guardian.
The lawsuit criticizes other Post reporters for sharing the defamatory article on social media, accusing the newspaper of engaging agents both within and outside the company to widely republish the false claims.
The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, declined to comment on the lawsuit, with a representative stating, “We are not commenting on pending litigation.”
According to the lawsuit, the Post portrayed TMTG as a company involved in corporate misconduct, leading readers to believe that TMTG officials were criminals.
Despite readers’ conclusions that TMTG and its executives could face legal consequences due to non-disclosures mentioned in the Post article, the paper has failed to retract the defamatory statements, according to the affidavit.
The complaint alleges that the Post’s statements were not made in good faith and that the falsehoods cannot be attributed to any factual errors. TMTG claims that the release of these statements and the subsequent republication in The Guardian were part of a coordinated effort to damage TMTG’s reputation and interfere with its business.
In its lawsuit against the Post, TMTG accuses the newspaper of acting with “actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth” and seeks $3.78 billion in damages.