SARASOTA COUNTY, FL – Family members of former Trump Administration national security advisor Michael Flynn were given the go-ahead by a federal judge last week to proceed with a lawsuit against CNN after the news network alleged that they were followers of the controversial “QAnon” conspiracy theory.
Flynn’s brother John “Jack” Flynn and his wife, Leslie, had filed a lawsuit over a televised report entitled “CNN Goes Inside a Gathering of QAnon Followers.” But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods dismissed the defamation claim last week, as the Flynns were unable to demonstrate monetary losses in connection with the report; however, Woods allowed the Flynns to continue with a false light claim they had also made against the network.
In his ruling, Judge Woods stated that the CNN report appeared to portray John and Leslie Flynn as QAnon followers, and as a result found that their false light suit – which references privacy laws that protect non-public individuals from publicity which puts them in a false light to the public – had merit.
“The report included a brief clip of Lieutenant General Michael Flynn proclaiming, ‘where we go one, we go all.’ Plaintiffs John P. (‘Jack’) and Leslie A. Flynn…are shown in the clip standing next to General Flynn,” Woods wrote in his ruling.
QAnon is a political conspiracy theory claiming that a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles operate a global child sex trafficking ring that conspired against Donald Trump while he was President of the United States.
In their lawsuit, Jack and Leslie Flynn have claimed not to be affiliated with QAnon in any way and that CNN has defamed them and painted them in a false light; the two are seeking $75 million in damages from the news network.
CNN attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed by highlighting tweets that Jack Flynn had made saying it was in-step with QAnon beliefs; however, the Flynns stated that Jack’s tweets illustrated that he “embraced the Constitution and equal justice under the law…not the dangerous, extremist, racist, anti-Semitic and violent beliefs espoused by QAnon.”
The Flynns also claim that CNN never reached out to them to confirm their status in terms of being QAnon followers or not, and presented no evidence to prove they were aligned with the bizarre movement.
Last year, CNN reportedly agreed to settle an $200+ million suit filed by Nick Sandmann, the red MAGA hat-wearing teenager that claimed the network’s coverage of him was a form of “bullying.”