Today, First Look Media is announcing a Press Freedom Litigation Fund grant to the Sacramento News & Review (SN&R). The $15,000 grant will be used to offset the legal costs the publication is rapidly accruing from a lawsuit filed by the Sacramento Mayor, and former NBA star, Kevin Johnson.
A little background on this somewhat complicated case. Mayor Johnson became president of the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) in 2013, and spent the next year battling another faction for control of the group. Ultimately, Mayor Johnson led NCBM into bankruptcy and then resigned to form a competing organization. Public employees working for the City of Sacramento and political volunteers assisted Mayor Johnson throughout his campaign at NCBM, largely communicating via a private Gmail account maintained by the Mayor’s office. The SN&R served a public records request to the city for these emails, but the mayor and the NCBM bankruptcy trustee claimed that many of these communications were protected by attorney-client privilege.