CBS Takes Possession of Computers and Records Belonging to Investigative Journalist Catherine Herridge

CBS apparently seized computers, records and files of the now-former investigative reporter Catherine Herridge, who has recently been fired from the network, according to Jonathan Turley.

Turley, a professor at George Washington Law School, said he talked with people presently and formerly employed by CBS who confidentially told him they do not recall senior staff ever taking such a step before. At the time of her departure, Herridge was investigating special counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Joe Biden, allegations of corruption against the president and Hunter Biden’s laptop, Turley noted. One former CBS journalist reportedly said staffers have never seen the apparent seizure of records and files from departing staffers.

The apparent seizure has caused a “chilling signal” across staffers at CBS, the journalist added, Turley wrote. A previous CBS manager reportedly stated that he had “never heard of anything like this,” as most departing journalists take their records and files upon leaving. He said the apparent seizure of her possessions is “outrageous” and endangered confidential sources, Turley added. Turley said these files may contain sources that were handed confidentially to Herridge, making the company’s move “dead wrong.

Paramount Global laid off Herridge, along with 800 jobs, in mid-February, the New York Post reported. Herridge left Fox News in 2019 after 23 years to work as a senior investigative correspondent for CBS News. She had previously been handed a prestigious award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Herridge is currently the subject of a First Amendment legal fight and could be held in contempt of court if she refused to disclose her source for investigative pieces she wrote in 2017, according to The Washington Post. U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper reportedly ruled Aug. 1 that she had to disclose the sources who informed her about a federal probe regarding Yanping Chen, a Chinese American scientist, who sued the federal government for allegedly leaking private information to the journalist

The judge ruled Chen’s need for evidence overrides Herridge’s “qualified First Amendment privilege,” the outlet reported.

Rejection of an appeal of the ruling drew concerns from interested parties. The Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press argued that “requiring journalists to be held in contempt and, as a result, risk jail time in order to appeal an order requiring them to divulge source information has a significant chilling effect.”

Chen is the owner of the University of Management and Technology, according to APA Justice.

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