A law firm that requested a CNN retraction on behalf of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) over the lawmaker’s stock purchases has withdrawn the letter. “CNN has no obligation to respond to the letter,” writes Mike McNamara, the U.S. chief executive of global law firm Dentons. The letter should never have been sent, notes McNamara, because the firm represents CNN on “other legal matters.”
As explained in this post yesterday, Dentons attorneys J. Randolph Evans and Benjamin P. Keane spelled out a long list of complaints regarding the story by correspondent Manu Raju reporting that Price, who is Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, had purchased shares of Zimmer Biomet, an implant company, not long before introducing legislation that would delay a regulation adversely affecting the company’s business.
The Trump presidential transition team responded with a retraction request that pretty well confirmed the timeline laid out in Raju’s story. The Dentons lawyers laid out a more detailed, though no more persuasive, case arguing that Price didn’t know about the stock purchase at the time he introduced the legislation, among other arguments. It used language suggesting that Price may be contemplating legal action against CNN, warning the network against repeating the claims in the Raju story and arguing that such repetition “can be treated as a knowing publication of false statements and as potentially defamatory communications.”
Now that threatening language is no longer in play. The letter from Dentons withdrawing its previous missive reads as follows:
CNN confirmed the letter and shared information vouching for its authenticity. Dentons issued a statement to this blog saying, “The Firm confirms that it sent the January 18 letter to CNN and has no further comment.” Phil Blando, a Trump transition team spokesman, told the Erik Wemple Blog, “The letter is not authentic.”
Update 3:25 p.m.: Blando says his “not authentic” comment pertains to any letter that would allege a withdrawal of the presidential transition team retraction demand, not the demand from the Dentons lawyers.