On May 8th, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in a 5-3 decision that a defamation suit brought by a former NFL player against TMZ can move forward. Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Robert Jones sued TMZ and its parent company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, in Travis County District Court in 2015, one year after TMZ published a story alleging that Jones tried to hire Watson to kill his sports agent.
On April 28th, Sean Hannity, a Fox News host, threatened to sue The New York Times over a column that linked a Brooklyn bar owner’s death from coronavirus to Hannity’s comments that downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic.
On April 13, Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor, dropped his defamation suit against The New York Times after it made changes to an earlier story about Lessig’s defense of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology official who accepted donations from the late Jeffrey Epstein.
Filed on April 13th in Price County Wisconsin Circuit Court, the lawsuit claims that the TV ad spliced together two video clips from separate campaign events to make it appear as if the president has said the phrase “The coronavirus, this is their new hoax.”
The judge has ordered Jones to pay Heslin $22,250 in attorney fees, making the total amount Jones now owes Neil Heslin just under $150,000.
On March 18th, Linda Fairstein, the former head of Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crime unit, sued Netflix director Ava DuVernay, and co-writer and producer Attica Locke for defamation. The lawsuit, filed in district court in Fort Myers, Florida, claims that DuVernay’s five-part series, “When They See Us,” contains scenes that portray Fairstein “in a false and defamatory manner.”
“These suits will likely fail in court but in the meantime they’ll gratify Trump’s base, distract the press and public, and deter speech and journalism that are vital to our democracy. That's presumably the point," Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University Jameel Jaffer said on Twitter.
The eight-page complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that two essays falsely accused his campaign of conspiring with foreign governments to interfere with the 2016 election.