The publisher of the hometown newspaper that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is suing for $150 million released a scathing statement on Tuesday, scolding the lawmaker for attacking local journalism and labeling the suit an “unproductive distraction” and “a misuse of the judicial system.”
In the statement given to the Fresno Bee, McClatchy Company pointed out that Nunes declined the opportunity to talk to Fresno Bee reporters last year before the article in question — about investors in a winery that Nunes co-owns doing cocaine and hiring sex workers during company charity event — was published.
“In the over 10 months since the winery article appeared, Mr. Nunes has not once availed himself of the statute by writing to the Fresno Bee to demand that it publish a correction to any statement made about him,” the statement said. “He did however find the time to produce a video and a 40-page mailer distributed to constituents attacking The Fresno Bee and its coverage of the Alpha Omega winery case.”
The publishing company added: “Logically, California is a more appropriate location to try this case since Mr. Nunes represents a constituency in California, McClatchy is based in California – for 162 years – and The Fresno Bee is the Representative’s hometown newsroom. We find it ironic that, rather than sue in his home district, he chose Charlottesville as the location for his suit, a town associated with Thomas Jefferson, a founding father who was a strong advocate of the First Amendment.”
The suit against McClathy, as well as a Republican communications operative, is just the latest suit the lawmaker and ardent Trump supporter has filed in the past two months. In March he sued the GOP operative, Liz Mair, alongside Twitter and two troll Twitter accounts for $250 million for defamation.
Read the full statement here.