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Afternoon Briefs: Harvard Law prof drops 'clickbait defamation' suit; Trump campaign sues TV station over ad

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Law prof drops ‘clickbait defamation’ suit after edits

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig has dropped his “clickbait defamation” lawsuit against the New York Times after the newspaper changed part of an article. Lessig had claimed that the article mischaracterized his essay in which he criticized the scapegoating of a researcher who accepted an anonymous donation from financier Jeffrey Epstein. The online headline originally read: “A Harvard Professor Doubles Down: If You Take Epstein’s Money, Do It in Secret.” The original lead read: “It is hard to defend soliciting donations from the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor, has been trying.” The New York Times says it is now using its print headline in the online version of the story. It reads: “What Are the Ethics of Taking Tainted Funds?” The new lead reads: “It is hard to defend a university official who anonymously accepted donations from the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. But Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard Law professor, has been trying, even though he wishes universities had never taken the money.” (The New York Law Journal, Law360, the Hill)

Trump campaign sues TV station over political advertisement

President Donald Trump’s campaign has sued a Wisconsin television station for running a super pac ad highlighting Trump’s early statements on the novel coronavirus. The ad ran in several battleground states beginning in late March. Trump sent cease-and-desist orders to the defendant, NBC affiliate WJFW in Rhinelander, along with several other stations. The suit claims that the ad used a quote from Trump—“This is their new hoax”—out of context. The remark was referring to his political opponents’ politicization of the outbreak, not the virus itself, the suit says. (Courthouse News Service, MSNBC, the lawsuit)

Wrongful death suit is filed against nursing home

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, the epicenter of a COVID-19 outbreak last month. The suit by Deborah de los Angeles says she was told that her mother, Twilla June Morin, 85, died March 4 from a suspected COVID-19 infection. The suit says the nursing home admitted new patients and hosted a Mardi Gras party, despite a suspected flu outbreak that turned out to be COVID-19. (Courthouse News Service, KOMO News, the lawsuit)

12-year sentence is upheld for contraband cellphone

The Mississippi Supreme Court refused last week to reconsider its earlier decision upholding a 12-year sentence for bringing a cellphone in to a jail. The inmate, Willie Nash, was being held on a misdemeanor charge. He revealed that he had the phone when he asked a correctional officer to charge the device. Nash’s lawyer argued that the sentence is so disproportionate to the crime that it violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The court opinion noted that Nash could have been indicted as a habitual offender because of previous burglary convictions. (The Associated Press via the Marshall Project, Courthouse News Service, the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision)

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