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How far can Omidyar money go? Maria Ressa hires US lobbying giant to wage PR war vs. Duterte

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Rappler founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maria Ressa has hired a top lobbying firm in the United States to help in the public relations campaign she is waging against President Rodrigo Duterte, American news outfit CNBC reported Monday (August 19).

Citing lobbying disclosure reports from the US Senate, CNBC reported that Ressa tapped Peter Lichtenbaum and Kurt Wimmer from Covington & Burling to “build awareness and concern about the unfounded charges brought against Rappler” and herself.

Lichtenbaum and Wimmer will start lobbying for Ressa effective Friday (August 23).

Wimmer told CNBC in an email that he and Lichtenbaum also expect to provide legal assistance to Ressa and brief US policy makers about her situation.

“We anticipate that in addition to providing U.S. legal counsel, our role will include briefing U.S. policymakers who are concerned with freedom of expression and the rule of law so that they understand all of the facts surrounding the Philippine government’s treatment of Ms. Ressa and Rappler,” Wimmer said.

Ressa is facing tax evasion charges over the investment made by American billionaire Pierre Omidyar in Rappler. She also has a pending cyber libel case.

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