House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes filed a $150 million lawsuit in Virginia state court against The McClatchy Company and others on Monday, alleging that one of the news agency’s reporters conspired with a political operative to derail Nunes’ oversight work into the Hillary Clinton campaign and Russian election interference.
The filing, obtained by Fox News, came a day after Nunes, R-Calif., revealed he would send eight criminal referrals to the Justice Department this week concerning purported surveillance abuses by federal authorities during the Russia probe, false statements to Congress and other matters.
In March, Nunes filed a similar $250 million lawsuit alleging defamation against Twitter and one of its users, Republican consultant Liz Mair. In Monday’s complaint, Nunes again named Mair as a co-defendant, charging this time that she conspired with McClatchy reporter MacKenzie Mays to spread a variety of untruthful and misleading smears — including that Nunes “was involved with cocaine and underage prostitutes” — online and in print.
Nunes’ complaint acknowledged the sensitivity of filing a defamation and conspiracy lawsuit against journalists but went on to allege that the defendants had “abandoned the role of journalist, and chose to leverage their considerable power to spread falsehoods and to defame” Nunes for “political and financial gain.”
McClatchy did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. In a March story, the McClatchy DC Bureau reported that Nunes’ previous lawsuit against Twitter and some of its users had only “amplified” the visibility of his critics and the Internet trolls — including one named “Devin Nunes’ Cow.”