Jan 6 Protester Sues CNN for Defamation, Demands $37 Million from Network

A protester arrested for entering the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021, is suing CNN for defamation. Jacob Hiles, a charter boat captain from Virginia Beach, said he went to Washington, D.C. to protest on Jan. 6 to “express his support for President Donald Trump by exercising his 1st Amendment rights guaranteed to him under the United States Constitution.”

However, like many of those arrested over Jan. 6, Hiles was smeared by the media.

Now he is fighting back and is suing CNN for defamation over an article the network published about him.

Hiles is seeking $37 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

According to the lawsuit, a CNN article’s contents were defamatory because the network “falsely accused Hiles of felonious criminal activity of which he was not charged or convicted, either directly or indirectly.”

The lawsuit says the article accuses Hiles of having “the intention to overthrow a sitting government which is one of the gravest felonies in the United States of America even though at the time of publication he had been charged with four Class B misdemeanors and entered a guilty plea to only one nonviolent misdemeanor and resulting in the three other charges being dismissed.”

The lawsuit says CNN acknowledged that Hiles pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor “but continued to mislead their viewers by painting a picture of a violent revolutionary intent on causing violence on January 6, 2021.”

Hiles has received “many credible death threats” due to CNN’s article, the lawsuit says.

The suit also says his business has suffered and his young daughter has lost friends and faced difficulties at school due to the article.

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According to DOJ:

HILES, Jacob, Case Number: 1:21-cr-155

Charge(s): Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building; Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building

Location of Arrest:

VIRGINIA, Chesapeake

Case Status:

Arrested 1/19/21. Initial appearance held 1/22/21.

Charged via criminal information 2/24/21. Arraigned 3/1/21 and pleaded not guilty to counts 1-4.

Plea agreement entered 9/9. Pleaded guilty to count 4.

Sentenced 12/6/2021 to 24 months of probation, 60 hours of community service, $500 restitution.

Hiles has previously made headlines over his political views, however.

In August 2020, Hiles became so sick of defending his political stances that he announced he would no longer allow Democrats on board his boat.

Hiles said when he takes customers out on fishing trips, he’s stuck with them all day.

He said that can lead to hours of conversation and he said he’s getting sick of talking about politics.


Hiles, who has been operating Matador Fishing Charters out of Virginia Beach for over 20 years, told WAVY that it’s irritated him so much, he took to Facebook to announce Democrats and supporters of the Democratic Party are no longer welcome on board.

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