(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), now the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, is suing Twitter and several Twitter users for negligence, defamation, insulting words, and civil conspiracy.
The lawsuit, filed in Henrico County Circuit Court in Virginia, seeks compensatory and punitive damages of at least $250,000,000.
Nunes accuses Twitter of "explicit censorship," with its shadow-banning of conservatives, including Nunes; of knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory; of ignoring complaints about offensive content and allowing that content to remain accessible to the public; and of intentionally refusing to enforce its own terms of service, thereby selectively amplifying the message of defamers, three of whom are mentioned in the lawsuit.
Nunes spoke about the lawsuit with Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night, calling it the "first of many."
What we're doing here is, we're actually going after Twitter first, because they are the main proliferator, and they spread this fake news and the slanderous news. So if you look at the lawsuit...it's all there.
But the case we're basically making is this was an orchestrated effort. So people were targeting me, there were anonymous accounts that were developed. And look...these accounts aren't supposed to exist. Twitter says they don't have accounts that do this.
So like I said, this is the first of many lawsuits that are coming. But there were several fake news accounts, whether it was in regards to the Russian investigation or to me, and we have to hold all of these people accountable. Because if we don't, our First Amendment rights are at stake here.
This isn't 20 years ago, Sean. What's happening is that Twitter becomes the gas-lighting for all of the news. And when they are regulating us, they're regulating what people can see on my tweets, which they have done, and then they're proliferating out things that they agree with, with the algorithms that they develop.
They need to come clean. They're not a public square, they are content developers.
Nunes said Twitter "shadow-banned" him last summer, before the election, which meant that people could not see his tweets. But on the other hand, Nunes' political enemies could continue to attack him and spread false information about him.
"How is it possible that I can be attacked relentlessly hundreds of times a day by fake accounts that they claim in their terms of service should not be there? So I guarantee you, if I put up something that was sexually explicit, or attacked someone personally, they would stop it; they would say this is a sensitive tweet. They never did that to any of the people that were coming after me or other conservatives.”
Nunes said every American should care about this if they care about the First Amendment, especially at a time when "the press is dead."
He also said he's not going to let fake news stories written about the Russia investigation stand. "We are going to challenge every single one of them in court, and we're just starting with Twitter."
According to the text of the lawsuit:
In 2018, during his last re-election for the 22nd Congressional District, Nunes endured an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life. Unlike prior elections, where Nunes won by sweeping majorities, Nunes won on November 6, 2018 by a much narrower margin, receiving 52.7% of the 222,379 votes.
The malicious, false and defamatory statements and relentless attacks on Nunes’ reputation did not stop after he won the Congressional election in 2018. The defamation continues. It must be stopped.
The lawsuit includes examples of Twitter users smearing Nunes' reputation in vile terms.
The lawsuit says the Twitter attacks on Nunes were "pre-planned, calculated, orchestrated and undertaken by multiple individuals acting in concert, over a continuous period of time exceeding a year. The full scope of the conspiracy, including the names of all participants and the level of involvement of donors and members of the Democratic Party, is unknown at this time and will be the subject of discovery in this action."
President Trump obliquely referred to the Nunes lawsuit on Tuesday morning, tweeting: "Facebook, Google and Twitter, not to mention the Corrupt Media, are sooo on the side of the Radical Left Democrats. But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA"