Sen. Ted Cruz says CNN may have broken the law

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CNN may be guilty of extortion, according to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). The allegation by Cruz is in response to the latest saga in the “Trump body slamming CNN video.”

It appears that CNN threatened to reveal the identity of  “HanA**holeSolo,” the Reddit user who allegedly created the CNN body-slam video tweeted by President Trump.  As #CNNBlackMail claimed the top spot on Twitter’s trending hashtags, CNN denied the allegations, saying, “Any assertion that the network blackmailed or coerced him is false.”

CNN maintains that “HanA**holeSolo” is an adult, not a child, who apologized and deleted his account before being contacted by the media giant. “CNN never made any deal, of any kind, with the user. In fact, CNN included its decision to withhold the user’s identity in an effort to be completely transparent that there was no deal,” a CNN spokesperson told The Hill.

On Wednesday, Cruz called CNN’s behavior “troubling” in a tweet, as he questioned whether CNN had considered the legal ramifications of its announcement about the Reddit user.

CNN wrote, “He is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts and he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again.” CNN goes on to say, “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”

In response to that statement, Cruz tweeted: “Troubling. I assume CNN’s lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion.” Cruz was referring to a Georgia law that would apply to CNN, which is headquartered in Atlanta. Cruz’s two-part tweet continues: “If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker’s IP it’s a GA crime if they threatened to ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule.'”

Cruz, who taught Supreme Court litigation as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, went back to Twitter later with another round of tweets that seem to indicate CNN may have violated the law.

The three-part tweet reads:

“Another relevant [criminal] law: NY § 135.60: ‘A person is guilty of coercion in the second degree when he…induces a person to abstain from engaging in conduct in which he…has a legal right to engage…by means of instilling…a fear…the actor will expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule.'”

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