In 2019, Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax sued CBS for defamation following their coverage of two sexual assault allegations against him. At the time, Fairfaix was poised to replace Gov. Ralph Northam who was facing intense public pressure to resign for appearing in blackface in his 1994 medical school yearbook.
Trump is being sued by former Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll for denying that he raped her in a department store changing room in the 1990s. The Biden administration’s decision to continue supporting this case does not bode well for Carroll. Federal officials are typically given broad protections from civil lawsuits.
On May 20th, Chinese Americans Civil Rights Coalition, a nonprofit organization, filed a defamation lawsuit against former President Trump both in his former official capacity and as a private citizen for his comments about COVID-19. The complaint includes a list of Trump’s allegedly defamatory statements, including tweets and campaign speeches in which Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” “China virus,” “China plague,” and “kung flu.”
On May 18th, Fox News filed a motion to dismiss the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company used in more than two dozen states during the 2020 presidential election.
On May 4th, a federal judge in Maryland sanctioned Representative Devin Nunes’s longtime attorney, Steve Biss, for filing a “frivolous” defamation lawsuit against CNN.
On May 4th, a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia Lieutenant Governor filed a defamation lawsuit against “Jane Doe,” after an anonymous text message was sent to convention delegates calling him a “gay Democrat.”
Project Veritas, a conservative organization known for surreptitiously recording its subjects, filed a defamation lawsuit against CNN on April 26th. The lawsuit alleges that news anchor Ana Cabrera defamed the company during a broadcast on February 15th. Project Veritas claims Cabrera falsely suggested on air that the organization’s Twitter account was suspended for “promoting misinformation.”
Dr. Luke is suing pop star Kesha over claims she made that he raped both her and singer Katy Perry. Free expression groups have argued that courts should interpret the public figure doctrine more broadly in libel suits involving sexual assault claims.