(FreedomBeacon.com)- On Monday, a judge in Manhattan refused a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit brought against NBCUniversal by former California Congressman Devin Nunes, ordering the case to proceed.
Nunes had sued NBCUniversal for defamation over a comment made by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow concerning his alleged relationship with a Ukrainian lawmaker suspected of being a Russian agent.
During a March 2021 broadcast of the “Rachel Maddow Show,” the MSNBC host was discussing a package addressed to Nunes from pro-Russian Ukrainian legislator Andriy Derkach. She claimed that Nunes “refused to hand it over to the FBI, which is what you should do if you get something from somebody who is sanctioned by the US as a Russian agent.”
In his lawsuit, Nunes accuses MSNBC and Maddow of knowing that the package had been turned over to the FBI and claims they chose to pretend it hadn’t as a way to “inflict maximum pain and suffering” on Nunes to harm his reputation.
Maddow is not a defendant in this lawsuit.
NBCUniversal filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but Judge Castel rejected the motion.
Without ruling on the merits of the case, US District Judge Kevin Castel said Nunes did “plausibly allege actual malice” with respect to Maddow’s statement on her nightly MSNBC show.
Judge Castel said Maddow did not provide a source for her claim that Nunes refused to turn over the package. And while Maddow might have known about a similar accusation from an article in Politico, “a court does not weigh competing, plausible theories of actual malice on a motion to dismiss.”
Devin Nunes, who left Congress last year to become the chief executive of Trump Media & Technology Group, has sued several news organizations in recent years.
In April, federal appeals courts in both New York and Washington refused to revive the defamation suits Nunes filed against CNN.