Court Battles

Devin Nunes’s family ordered to reveal who is paying for defamation lawsuit

An Iowa judge is ordering Rep. Devin Nunes’s (R-Calif.) family to reveal who is paying for a defamation lawsuit they’re bringing against Hearst and journalist Ryan Lizza over a story that was published in 2018, McClatchy D.C. Bureau reported.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa Judge Mark Roberts wrote in an order Tuesday that Nunes’s family had to provide documentation to the court over how the family was paying for their lawsuit by Tuesday. The order comes after Nunes’s brother allegedly said earlier this year that he was not aware of who was funding most of the family’s legal fees, according to the news outlet.

Roberts is seeking to figure out if Nunes is somehow involved in the lawsuit. McClatchy noted that one of the lawyers who is representing the family, Steven Biss, has previously represented the California Republican. William McGinn is the other lawyer representing the family.

“Anthony Nunes III’s lack of knowledge about who is paying the attorneys prosecuting this action raises legitimate concern about not only who may be in charge of the lawsuit, but also whether Plaintiffs are the still the real parties in interest,” Roberts said in his order, according to McClatchy.

Last summer, a lawsuit the Nunes family filed over a story that was published in Esquire about their family farm — a dairy operation that was moved from California to an area in Iowa and allegedly employs undocumented immigrants — was dismissed. In September, however, that lawsuit was revived by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit after Lizza tweeted out a link to the story following Nunes’s lawsuit.

Hearst’s and Lizza’s lawyers filed a motion seeking to see who was paying for the family’s lawyers and who else may be motivating the lawsuit. The Nunes family’s lawyers have protested the effort, according to McClatchy 

Lizza declined to comment to The Hill. The Hill has reached out to both lawyers for Nunes’s family, Hearst and a spokesperson for Nunes. 

A request for comment was not returned to McClatchy from lawyers for Lizza and Hearst. 

Tags Devin Nunes Devin Nunes Esquire Hearst McClatchy ryan lizza Ryan Lizza

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