Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. (TMTG) filed a $3.8 billion defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post last week, claiming the news outlet made false and defamatory statements against the company. The lawsuit claims The Post knowingly published “false” articles “in order to harm TMTG’s business” and alleges that the outlet conspired with an ex-TMTG employee who provided documents to create a “fraudulent narrative about securities fraud.”
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The Post’s article, “Trust linked to porn-friendly bank could gain a stake in Trump’s Truth Social,” was published two months after The Guardian’s story, which is addressed in the lawsuit, saying it falsely claimed the bank, ES Family Trust, could obtain a large stake in TMTG. The outlets also reported that Trump’s company allegedly paid the ES Family Trust a $240,000 finder’s fee for arranging the $8 million loan deal, which the company claims it never paid.
The Post’s article referenced internal documents obtained from whistleblower Will Wilkerson who was the former executive vice president of operations at TMTG. Wilkerson provided roughly 150,000 emails, contracts, and other internal documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission and investigators in Florida and New York, The Washington Post reported in a separate article last month. However, Trump’s company claims in the lawsuit that Wilkerson was a disgruntled ex-employee who had been justly terminated and had allegedly provided false information to several media outlets.
TMTG, which is owned by former President Donald Trump and is the parent company of his social media platform Truth Social, claimed The Post “published an egregious hit piece that falsely accused TMTG of securities fraud and other wrongdoing.” The company further claims the article “exposed TMTG to public ridicule, contempt and distrust, and injured TMTG’s business and reputation.”
The lawsuit’s claims align with Trump’s historical accusations that media headlines about him and his companies are something akin to a “witch hunt,” and the lawsuit seems to be trending along the same narrative. The lawsuit claims “WaPo [The Washington Post] has been on a years-long crusade against TMTG characterized by the concealment of relevant information in its possession—a bitterly ironic truth for a publication whose motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
The Post’s article followed an investigative article by The Guardian which said federal investigators were looking into possible money laundering connected to Russian ties and the alleged acceptance of $8 million. Trump’s company filed a separate defamation lawsuit against The Guardian and claims The Post knew of the article and the suit, but “brazenly published and republished the false and defamatory Guardian statements online,” adding it had been reshared on Twitter multiple times, reaching millions of users across the U.S. According to the lawsuit, this resulted in TMTG suffering from damages including “loss and injury to its business, brand and goodwill, lost future earning capacity, damage and injury to reputation (past and future), costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.”
Trump Media is demanding a trial by jury and requests compensatory damages amounting to $2.78 billion and an additional $1 billion in punitive damages. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of 25 civil suits involving Trump as either the plaintiff or defendant, as well as ongoing criminal charges in New York City and continued federal, state, and local investigations.
Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The Washington Post told Forbes it couldn’t comment on pending litigation.