Trump Sues ABC News and Stephanopoulos Over Defamation Claims

Former president Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against ABC News and anchor George Stephanopoulos for defamation, charging that statements Stephanopoulos repeatedly made during an interview, asserting that Trump had been found liable for misconduct, are defamatory.

The suit, which was filed in federal court in Florida, centers on a heated segment between Stephanopoulos and Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) that aired on the March 10 edition of “This Week”. Stephanopoulos pressed Mace to defend her support for Trump in light of the former president being found liable for misconduct in recent court proceedings.

“Judges and two juries have found him liable for misconduct and for defaming the victim,” Stephanopoulos asserted during the interview. Trump has repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Mace, herself a survivor of assault, blasted Stephanopoulos for asking “disgusting” questions of a victim and trying to shame her. She responded that Trump had not been found guilty in any criminal court and that the cases he cited were civil.

Trump’s lawyer, Alejandro Brito, asserted in the suit against Stephanopoulos and ABC News that he had made false statements with “actual malice” or “reckless disregard for the truth,” despite knowledge of the jury’s findings. The lawsuit highlights 12 specific quotes from the March 10 broadcast during which Stephanopoulos claimed that Trump had been held liable for specific forms of misconduct, when in fact the findings of the court addressed different allegations than those charged by Stephanopoulos, a crucial distinction in defamation cases.

ABC News is also listed as a defendant in the suit, with Trump’s legal team arguing that the network endorsed and disseminated Stephanopoulos’s “false and defamatory statements” about the former President. The interview between Stephanopoulos and Mace garnered significant attention online, particularly due to Mace’s forceful response pushing back against the interviewer’s assertions, describing it as an attempt to shame her over her political choices considering her personal experiences.

The court proceedings discussed in the interview pertains to a New York civil case filed by writer E. Jean Carroll against Trump, accusing the former U.S. President of inappropriate misconduct. While jurors found Trump liable for defamation and misconduct under New York law, it did not render a verdict on the specific allegations. Trump and his legal team deny all allegations by Carroll.

Trump is seeking unspecified damages in his case against Stephanopoulos and ABC News.