Leanna Harris seeks help from anti-defamation lawyer in toddler death

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned the mother of the child killed in a hot car is seeking counsel from a high-profile anti-defamation attorney.
 

Leanna Harris is the mother of Cooper, who died after his father left him in a hot car while at work. Police charged her husband Ross Harris with felony murder, saying he intentionally left 22-month-old Cooper for hours in a hot car.
 
On Tuesday, Leanna Harris' attorney issued the first statement about his client, saying the public's got it all wrong. Wednesday, it appeared this team is going on the offensive. A source tells Channel 2 Action News she’s potentially expanding her legal team.
 
The source close to Harris says she will meet with Lin Wood, an Atlanta attorney who has handled several high-profile anti-defamation cases.
 
"I think the move to talk to Lin Wood is really to put out there, ‘Hey, media, please don't defame my client. Please don't talk about her unless you know the truth about what's going on,” said defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant.
 
Merchant, who's not connected to the case, says defamation claims are extremely tough to prove, so she sees this as a shot across the bow.
 
"I think this will serve its purpose by having people be a little bit extra careful when they talk about her," Merchant said.
 
The source, who asked to remain confidential, says Harris is looking to defend against so-called tabloid media speculation has swirled around the mother and whether she had any role in her child's death.
 
On Tuesday, her attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, issued the first statement about Leanna Harris.
 
"Getting through each day seems almost impossible. Dealing with her grief has become more difficult as the days go on, however, in large part because of the constant speculation and innuendo in the media."
 
Channel 2 Action News called Wood's office for comment but was told he’s out for the rest of the week.