United States Attorney General Merrick Garland has moved to represent Donald Trump in Jean E Carroll’s rape allegations against the former President. The BBC had coverage as did MSNBC.

The Lawyer’s Daily has analysed the claims of election fraud and rigging made by Rudy Guliani and Sidney Powell. Dominion Voting Systems defamation lawsuit against the pair continues.

In the Law Times David Slater analyses the state of defamation was, using the spate of Trump 2020 election fraud claims as an example.

Fortune reports on a new law in Florida seeks to punish social media platforms that remove “conservative ideas” from their sites.  It is not clear however, whether the law can in fact, be enforced due to section 230 and the First Amendment.  There was also a report in the Guardian.

Bloomberg has a post about the libel action brought by Steve Wynn against Lisa Bloom and her law firm over a press release they issued accusing him of ordering female employees to present themselves in a more sexually appealing way.

The Volokh Conspiracy blog has a post noting that the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to a review decisions granting a libel injunction and anonymity to a police officer bringing a case in relation to a post accusing him of possibly being associated with white supremacy.

The Washington Post {£] has considered how Russian attacks on US media outlets have become a test case.

The Press Gazette had a piece “Who owns the news in the US? New analysis reveals top owners and publishers” – the top monthly website views is Wikipedia, followed by Fox and CNN.  The full ranking and ownership information can be found here.

US media add revenue is predicted to jump 22% in 2021 according to GroupM.

In the Courts

In the case of Kaplan v. Lebanese Canadian Bank 19-3522 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that victims of terrorism may be able to hold a Hizbollah’s bank liable for their injuries. The case has been remanded for further proceedings but it was considered that this may be permissible under the aiding and abetting theory.

In contrast, in the case of Retana v Twitter and others 19-11389 the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that Internet services and social media providers could not be secondarily liable for aiding and abetting Hamas as a result of having hosted their videos.

In the case of Human Rights Defense Center v Baxter County Arkansas 19-2096 the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit considered whether the publisher of the “Prison Legal News and the Habeas Citebook” had a First Amendment right to mail unsolicited copies to prisoners. The question was whether a Baxter County jail’s postcards only policy amounts to a total ban on access. The case has been remanded for fact finding.

In the case of Green v Pierce Countery, 98768-8, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington held  a man with a YouTube channel does not qualify as a member of the media under the state’s public records law, meaning he is not entitled to certain records that are available to news organizations but otherwise exempt from release to the general public.  There was an AP report of the case.

In the case of Dershowitz v. CNN, Inc.: 20-61872-CIV-SINGHAL the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Judge Raag Singhal) refused to dismiss Alan Dershowitz’s libel claim  against CNN in relation to its coverage of arguments made by the plaintiff on the Trump impeachment hearing.  There was a piece on the Volokh Conspiracy blog.

In the case of Elder v 21st Century Media (AC 42779) the Appellate Court of Connecticut upheld a summary dismissal of a libel claim by an attorney in respect of a newspaper report of his suspension from practice on the grounds of “fair report privilege”.

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