Rule of Law

Shirley Sherrod's Attack on Breitbart's Lawyer-Client Privilege

In a pleading filed in federal court in the lawsuit brought by Shirley Sherrod against Andrew Breitbart (and now his widow), Shirley Sherrod is trying to pry privileged attorney client communications from Breitbart News.  The communications involved legal advice given by Larry Solov to Andrew Breitbart in the wake of publication of stories relating to Shirley Sherrod’s speech to the NAACP. Sherrod is the former Department of Agriculture official fired after it was revealed that at one time she intended to withhold benefits from a white farmer because he was white. Sherrod filed a defamation lawsuit against Breitbart and substituted Andrew’s widow Suzy after his death in February 2012. (Links here, here and here).

In seeking to justify the forced disclosure of Solov’s emails, Sherrod has referred to the false allegation that Tea Party demonstrators opposed to Obamacare used racial slurs while yelling at members of the Congressional Black Caucus during a Capitol Hill demonstration.    (You can read the full memorandum here.)

Moreover, Defendants assert that the Blog Post stemmed from events in Washington. As Defendants explained at length in their Motion to Dismiss, the Blog Post was written in the “context of [a] months-long and very loud public clash between Tea Party conservatives and the NAACP[.]” Dkt. No. 22 at 20. They claim that this clash began during a four-day rally in Washington, D.C. at which Tea Party members were alleged to have hurled racial epithets at members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Id. at 17. Defendants have made the Washington, D.C. events a lynchpin of their motivation for publication.

Sherrod wants Breitbart to be forced to disclose communications between attorney Solov and Breitbart employees related to the publication of the Sherrod speech.  Solov is a Harvard law graduate and litigated case for years before joining Breitbart.

You can read the Breitbart legal response here.

Sherrod is being represented pro bono by Kirkland and Ellis, a large lawfirm that donates significant time to other left wing causes, most recently failing in attempts to block North Carolina election integrity laws, and also has represented a Nazi concentration camp guard and German companies which used slave labor.