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As Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin stands trial on charges of murdering George Floyd, no single broadcaster has exclusive coverage of the criminal proceeding. But that hasn’t stopped Court TV from touting its front-row seat — and now, alleged misrepresentations have prompted a side civil action. On Wednesday, Law&Crime Network filed a false advertising lawsuit against Court TV in New York.
According to Dan Abrams’ Law&Crime Network, which is live-streaming the Chauvin court proceedings and has also sent reporters to Minneapolis, Court TV has for months been stating in various press releases that it is “the only multiplatform network devoted to live, gavel-to-gavel coverage, in-depth legal reporting and expert analysis of the nation’s most important and compelling trials.”
After watching Court TV do this for everything from a special on the anniversary of the O.J. Simpson verdict to one concerning Harvey Weinstein, Law&Crime had enough and began sending cease-and-desist letters. Court TV allegedly offered assurances it would stop claiming such an exclusive on live trial coverage, but it didn’t.
“Court TV’s misrepresentations finally hit a tipping point in March, 2021, when it attempted to exploit the death of George Floyd with false statements about its coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial,” states the plaintiff owned by Abrams, who first hit it big in the ’90s working for Court TV on the O.J. Simpson case.
Law&Crime says media outlets picked up a series of Court TV’s announcements about covering the Chauvin trial. The press releases included the same objectionable line about being “the only multi-platform network devoted to live, gavel-to-gavel coverage.”
“As a result of the announcement, certain Law&Crime Network distribution partners contacted Law&Crime asking if it was still planning to cover the live proceedings of the Chauvin Trial and Law&Crime was forced to explain that, of course, Court TV was not the only outlet covering the trial live,” continues the complaint. “What makes Court TV’s statement even more egregious is that Court TV was permitted by the Chauvin court to serve as ‘the pool feed’ for the trial, which means that they will be responsible for distributing the live courtroom feed, in real time and simultaneously, to all television networks and media who come to court and request access. Law&Crime has served that ministerial but important role in many other cases. … Rather than serving the public interest as is expected when serving as the pool camera, Court TV has been exploiting its duty by sending out paid press releases to falsely promote itself and its coverage as the sole outlet for the Chauvin Trial to the detriment of the public and Law&Crime Network.”
Law&Crime demands injunctive relief plus an order requiring Court TV to correct the public record.
In a statement, Court TV responds, “We’re reviewing the complaint but we don’t comment on ongoing litigation.”
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