CNN revealed on Wednesday that the Justice Department had waged a secret legal battle to obtain the email logs of one of its journalists – and that as part of the fight, the government had imposed a gag order on network lawyers and its president, Jeff Zucker.
The news network’s disclosure came less than a week after a New York Times lawyer revealed that he and a handful of lawyers and newspaper executives had been gagged in a similar fight stemming from an investigation into the leaks.
The fight over the CNN journalist’s email data began in July 2020 under the Trump administration and was resolved on January 26, just after the Biden administration took office, as part of a deal. with prosecutors under which the network handed over “a limited set of email logs,” it said. A judge recently lifted the gag order on the case.
The disclosure was the latest involving aggressive action the Justice Department took in leakage investigations at the end of the Trump administration, and the second investigation now known to have spilled over into the first Biden administration.
The Justice Department revealed in recent weeks that it had successfully seized telephone records from four Times reporters, the CNN reporter and several Washington Post reporters during investigations during the Trump administration. on leaks. Each involved recordings from 2017.
Following the revelations, President Biden ordered the department to stop the practice of seizing journalists’ communication files in an attempt to identify their sources. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has scheduled a meeting with the heads of the three news outlets for Monday.