Esquire magazine’s Ryan Lizza reported on California congressman Devin Nunes’ family farm, claiming in a Sept. 2018 article that “Devin Nunes’s Farm is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret.”
“Why did [Nunes’s] parents and brother cover their tracks after quietly moving the farm to Iowa? ” Lizza wrote. “Are they hiding something politically explosive? On the ground in Iowa, Esquire searched for the truth—and discovered a lot of paranoia and hypocrisy.” The article reported that the Nunes family “sold their California farmland in 2006” and bought a dairy in Iowa.
But, now, Rep. Nunes (R-CA) is suing Lizza and Esquire‘s parent company Hearst Magazine for $75 million, alleging libel and conspiracy.
Courthouse News Service uploaded a copy of the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.
Nunes’ lawsuit alleges Lizza “is a high-profile, left-wing political journalist, well-known for his extreme bias towards” Nunes and claimed Lizza “lurked around” Nunes’s “grammar-school aged nieces and stalked members of” his family “reducing [Nunes’s] sister-in-law to tears.” The lawsuit further goes on to claim, “while he was in Sibley, Lizza stalked Plaintiff’s grammar-school-aged nieces, behaved like a sex offender or pedophile cruising the local neighborhood for victims, frightened a family member to tears, and exploited a grieving mother.”
The lawsuit calls the article a “scandalous hit piece that intentionally disparaged [Nunes] and his family, accused [Nunes] of dishonesty, deceit, conspiracy, and unethical practices, and severely impugned his integrity and skills as a United States Congressman.”
The lawsuit further alleges it was “click-bait, sensationalist, egregious misstatements simply to sell magazines and, in Lizza’s case, distract readers from his negative image and history as a sexual predator and to improve his standing.”
In 2017, the New Yorker fired Lizza after an allegation of “improper sexual conduct,” which Lizza denied.
The lawsuit claims that Lizza’s tweets promoting the article, as well as tweets by Esquire and Lizza’s girlfriend, Olivia Nuzzi, and other social media posts, amounted to “conspiracy.”
iMediaEthics has written to Nunes’s representative, Lizza and Esquire.
According to the lawsuit, the article “is a legion of lies” because Nunes “does not own an interest in his family’s dairy farm in Iowa, never has, and is not involved in any way in its operations.”
Nunes sued McClatchy newspaper company earlier this year over an article by the Fresno Bee that he alleged was “character assassination” against him.
Hat Tip: The Independent