Piling onto lawsuits filed by Michael Flynn’s brother and sister, the ex-Donald Trump national security advisor’s sister-in-law sued CNN for $100 million — claiming that the network falsely described her as a QAnon adherent.
The video showed the family reciting a pledge on July 4, 2020, which ended with the retired general reciting slogan “where we go one, we go all,” a credo commonly associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.
CNN’s correspondent Donie O’Sullivan featured the family video in a segment with the chyron “CNN Goes Inside A Gathering Of QAnon Followers” on Feb. 4, 2021.
The segment noted that that QAnon adherents believe that a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles control the so-called deep state government to undermine Trump, in a conspiracy theory that helped instigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
On July 2021, several months after the segment ran, Flynn’s brother John “Jack” Flynn and his wife Leslie Flynn filed a $75 million lawsuit. Though a federal magistrate initially recommended that the case be dismissed, U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods ultimately allowed the claim of false light defamation to proceed to discovery last year on Dec. 16.
The retired general’s sister in law Valerie Flynn followed suit on Wednesday, with a larger damages demand. She says that the video was taken at a Fourth of July barbecue at her home in Newport County, Rhode Island.
“Although it knew nothing about Valerie, CNN consciously chose to include Valerie in the edited clip. The clip conveyed a very powerful (but untrue) message: that Valerie pledged her allegiance to QAnon. CNN made no effort in the O’Sullivan report to dispel that notion. The edited video clip festooned with the chyron ‘QAnon followers’ was a premeditated attempt (a) to manufacture a connection between Valerie and QAnon that did not exist and an event (a pledge of allegiance) that never happened, (b) to wildly exaggerate and misrepresent Valerie’s actions and beliefs, and (c) to create a frenzy about the Flynn family’s involvement with a violent, extremist group, QAnon.”
In a footnote, she claims that the “where we go one, we go all”—commonly abbreviated in QAnon circles as #WWG1WWA—is not only about QAnon.
“According to some, the phrase ‘where we go one, we go all’ was first engraved on a bell on one of President John F. Kennedy’s sailboats, acknowledging the unity of mankind,” the footnote states. “In his video published on July 4, 2020, General Flynn intended to encourage people to think about being good citizens, to love country and be good patriots. The video had nothing to do with QAnon or recruiting ‘digital soldiers’ for an apocalyptic reckoning.”
Valerie Flynn filed her lawsuit in the Middle District of Florida, where she claims her reputation has been damaged.
“Until she was egregiously defamed by CNN, Valerie enjoyed an untarnished reputation in the community,” she says.
In opposing her relatives’ New York lawsuit, CNN has argued that their report was not defamatory because it was “substantially true.” The network pointed to a tweet by brother Jack Flynn: “There is nothing wrong with QAnon. Just People doing their own research and learning independence of thought to find the truth.” Flynn’s wife Leslie Flynn was quoted forwarding a tweet that included a bold “Q” and “#WWG1WGA.”
Judge Wood found those tweets alone were not enough to dismiss that lawsuit before discovery. On a motion to dismiss, judges must assume allegations in a complaint to be true.
Read Valerie Flynn’s lawsuit, below:
(Image via court filing)
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