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Judge sides with magazine, throws out Nunes’ defamation suit

A federal judge in Iowa has ruled against former Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, who claimed Esquire magazine defamed him in articles about his family's dairy farm.

A federal judge in Iowa has ruled against former U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, who filed lawsuits claiming he was defamed by articles published by Esquire magazine about his family’s Iowa dairy farm.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams ruled Tuesday in favor of reporter Ryan Lizza and Esquire publisher Hearst Magazines in a lawsuit Nunes filed, according to the Des Moines Register.

Nunes served for 19 years representing California in the U.S. House before leaving Congress to run the social media platform Truth Social, which is largely owned by former President Donald Trump.


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Nunes filed the lawsuits in 2019 after Lizza’s story on the Nunes family’s dairy farm in northwest Iowa published in 2018. The article claimed the family kept their move from California to Iowa a secret and delved into questions about immigrants living illegally in Iowa who work at the state’s dairy farms.

In his ruling, Williams said a reasonable jury couldn’t find the article’s statements defamatory.

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It marks the second time the court has ruled against Nunes. Williams in 2020 also rejected Nunes’ claims, but he appealed, and in 2021 the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found Lizza may have committed a new defamatory act when in November 2019 he tweeted a link to the original article.

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Williams noted in his second ruling that evidence supported the article’s reporting about the Nunes family’s immigrant workers. The judge said the family didn’t offer material evidence that the story’s claims were false.

An email sent to Nunes at his website wasn’t immediately returned.

Lizza now works for the news organization Politico, and an email left with Lizza at Politico wasn’t immediately returned. An email left with Esquire magazine also wasn’t immediately returned.

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