Two of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s relatives filed a $75 million defamation lawsuit against CNN on Thursday.
Flynn’s brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Leslie Flynn, sued the network in U.S. District Court in New York City for allegedly portraying them and their family as supporters of QAnon, an online conspiracy theory. The Flynns claimed that CNN deceptively edited footage in a Feb. 4 segment on the conspiracy to implicate the Flynn family, according to the Daily Beast. As the outlet reports:
The segment largely shows footage of a meeting of QAnon supporters, including the photogenic icon of the Capitol riot known as the QAnon Shaman, but also briefly shows video tweeted by Michael Flynn of a July 4th gathering of his extended family. In the video, the Flynns recite a pledge to the U.S. constitution and end it with “Where we go one, we go all,” a slogan so frequently used by QAnon adherents it appears as the abbreviation WWG1WGA on movement merchandise. Jack and Leslie Flynn contend, however, that the slogan is unrelated to the movement and that they are “not followers or supporters of any extremist or terrorist groups, including QAnon,” despite being allegedly inaccurately portrayed as such.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 5, 2021
Michael Flynn served briefly as former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser before he resigned the post while under scrutiny for allegedly lying to the FBI. The allegation turned into legal charges and a court battle that lasted roughly three years and ended with a pardon from Trump.
“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” Trump tweeted on Nov. 25.
Prior to Trump’s pardon, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had moved to drop the charges against Flynn after a review of the case revealed that federal prosecutors had failed to turn over exculpatory evidence that undercut the DOJ’s case against him, according to former Attorney General William Barr.
“It’s on the question of materiality that we feel really that a crime cannot be established here because there was not, in our view, a legitimate investigation going on,” Barr said in a May interview explaining his decision to drop the case against Flynn. “They did not have a basis for a counterintelligence investigation against Flynn at that stage, based on a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition.”
Despite the prosecution moving to drop the case, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan kept the case active and appointed an outside attorney to continue to prosecute the case. Sullivan had given no sign of wanting to close the case until Trump issued his pardon.