(CN) – Former Trump campaign consultant Jason Miller claims in a libel lawsuit that he lost his job at CNN and was shunned in his community after a politics website reported false accusations that he slipped a lady an abortion pill.
Miller, who used to appear frequently on CNN as a Republican political commentator, says SplinterNews.com defamed him by reporting on fabricated accusations that appeared in a vicious family court case.
Generally, a protection known as the fair report privilege shields journalists from defamation claims for reporting on court filings, police reports and other public documents.
But Miller says that because the family court filing at issue was sealed, the journalistic protection does not apply. He says it would be “illogical to hold that a defendant has the right to publish to millions of readers information which not one of those readers could personally obtain.”
“A publisher does not have the right to spread false contents of sealed court papers to the public,” the lawsuit alleges, demanding more than $100 million in damages.
Gizmodo Media Group, which owns Splinter, responded to the lawsuit in a statement, saying that it “stands by its reporting and its reporter.”
“We have not yet been served with the complaint, and will respond more fully when we have had a chance to review it,” Gizmodo said.
Splinter’s story was centered on allegations presented in the child custody battle between Miller and Arlene “A.J.” Delgado, a Harvard-educated lawyer and columnist. Miller admittedly had an affair and fathered a child with Delgado while they were working on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and post-election transition team.
The family court battle has been contentious by all accounts, to say the least. Delgado has accused Miller of being dishonest and a misogynist, while Miller paints Delgado as an unstable woman bent on destroying him.
According to Miller, Delgado has tirelessly promoted a bogus narrative about how Miller allegedly put an abortion pill in another ex-lover’s smoothie in 2012 to prevent her from having his child. Delgado pushed for high-profile journalists, including Yashar Ali, to print the accusations, but the story was consistently squashed, as it remained uncorroborated, Miller says.
In Sept. 2018, Miller claims, Delgado “took matters into her own hands” and submitted a filing in the family court case pro se (without an attorney), in which she detailed the alleged abortion pill crime against the unnamed woman. The filing was submitted “just hours before [Delgado’s] sixth attorney appeared in the family case,” Miller says.
Miller claims that the filing was sealed, but that SplinterNews.com reported on it and posted a link to it, under the headline “Court Docs Allege Ex-Trump Staffer Drugged Woman He Got Pregnant With ‘Abortion Pill.'”
Splinter updated the story with comments from Miller’s attorney. However, it did not capitulate to Miller’s demand for a retraction.
The media coverage left Miller’s life “in shambles,” his new lawsuit reads.
He lost his job as a commentator on CNN, while his position at corporate-communications firm Teneo was put in jeopardy. And parents at his kids’ sporting events wouldn’t even sit near him, he claims.
“No one wants to be associated with the monster Miller was falsely accused of being,” the defamation lawsuit in Miami federal court says.
The woman identified as the alleged abortion-pill victim, referred to as Jane Doe in the court file, has denied even knowing Miller. She said she wants “to be left alone, and to make it very clear in writing that I do not know, nor have I ever known Jason Miller.”
“I did not have a relationship of any kind or sexual intercourse with Jason Miller in the year 2012 or any time before or after,” says Jane Doe’s declaration, submitted to the defamation claim court.
Delgado, who is not named as a defendant in the defamation lawsuit, called Miller a “liar” on her social media page shortly after the lawsuit was filed. She purportedly sent a message to Doe back in August, suggesting that Doe “got paid off” and decrying her for not confirming the story.
Miller’s lawsuit seeks damages for defamation, tortious interference, invasion of privacy, conspiracy, and infliction of emotional distress. Gizmodo is named as a defendant alongside editor Katherine Krueger, who held the byline for the story.
Splinter and other Gawker sister sites were acquired by Univision at auction in 2016. The acquisition came after Gawker declared bankruptcy in the wake of a massive judgment that wrestler Hulk Hogan (aka Terry Bollea) obtained against it for publishing a video depicting him having sex.
Miller is represented by Kenneth Turkel and Shane Vogt, Bollea’s attorneys from the Gawker case.