The US Department of Justice has taken action to protect President Trump from defamation allegations arising out of his denial of allegations from columnist E Lean Carroll that he raped her.

The department has moved to replace the President’s private lawyers and take over the case.  The BBC reports as does the Telegraph and CNN. The Washington Post has been highly critical of the move.

The Volokh Conspiracy Blog has a piece dealing with the relevant legislation, the Westfall Act, and its application in other cases.  There were also posts on Mother Jones and AlterNet.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing continue with Chinese authorities imposing visa restrictions on foreign journalists working of US news organisations. Journalists from Getty Images, Bloomberg, CNN and the Wall Street Journal who attempted to renew their press cards were informed they could not renew their press cards because of US measures against Chinese journalists in the US. The Guardian, CNN, Bloomberg and Aljazeera report. Instead of the typical renewals journalists were instead provided with letters that gave them temporary permission to work using their expired press credentials.

Alan Dershowitz has brought a libel claim against CNN over its impeachment coverage.  He alleges that CNN selectively left out some of his comments on President Trump’s impeachment and subsequently created a false narrative.

The case of Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17 year old who allegedly shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha has divided US media. The Guardian has analysed the media response to the attacks, highlighting the politicisation and division in coverage.

Actor Johnny Depp has sought to delay the trail of his defamation case against former partner Amber Heard due to scheduling issues with the filming of the latest Fantastic Beasts film, the BBC reports.

The Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner has concluded that the Swiss-US Privacy Shield regime does not offer adequate protection for data transfers from Switzerland to the US under the Federal Act on Data Protection. See the Privacy Shield policy paper here. Compliance Week has commentary.    

Julia Hall of Aljazeera considers how the US’s pursuit of Julian Assange could set a precedent that is damaging to press freedom, especially for those who publish leaked or classified information.

The New Statesman has a piece on investigative journalism in during the Trump Presidency.

At the Freedom Forum, Tony Mauro examines some of the steps the Supreme Court has taken in recent years to make the court’s work more transparent (such as an electronic filing system and live audio of oral arguments during the pandemic) and offers a wish list of improvements.

This month in the Courts

Viers v Baker, in the Supreme Court of Virginia, an action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation in relation to the firing of an administrative assistant at the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office. It was found that absolute immunity does not apply to a Commonwealth’s attorney’s allegedly defamatory statements about why he decided to fire and employee.

Sewell v Monroe City School Board 18-31086, a case considering an annual Medicare Health provider compensation formula, where two provisions of the law irreconcilably conflict but judges wish to construct faithfully to the text of the statute.

This Round up was complied by Suneet Sharma a junior legal professional with a particular interest and experience in media, information and privacy law.