Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has added to his lawsuits against the media, announcing this month that he is suing CNN, its president Jeff Zucker and host Chris Cuomo, the Huffington Post and its reporter Kevin Robillard, and Rolling Stone and its reporter Tessa Stuart.
Arpaio’s lawsuit claims that the three news outlets “falsely refer to and defamed him per se as a convicted felon.” Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt in 2017, but it was a misdemeanor; he was pardoned by Pres. Trump that year.
iMediaEthics has written to the news outlets in question; A CNN spokesperson declined to comment to iMediaEthics. Arpaio’s lawyer, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, told iMediaEthics, “Sheriff Arpaio will sue other media if he is again defamed. Neither he nor anyone else should turn the other cheek. The ‘Fake News’ left wing media needs to be held to account and that is why Freedom Watch has a Leftist Media Strike Force. That is one of the messages here.” Freedom Watch’s website also has a fundraiser to support Arpaio’s “NYTimes takedown” — that fundraiser seeks $200,000. By Dec. 12 at 5 PM, Freedom Watch had only raised $380.
The specific news stories are:
- CNN’s Jan. 10, 2018 broadcast in which Cuomo allegedly called him a “convicted felon”
- HuffPost’s Nov. 5 article, “Kyrsten Sinema wants you to know she’s not a progressive,” which claimed Arpaio was “sent to prison for contempt of court.” This article carries a correction reading: “
- CORRECTION: A previous version of this story mistakenly indicated Joe Arpaio went to prison for his conviction. “
- Rolling Stone‘s Nov. 13 article, “How Trump Accidentally Helped Democrat Kyrsten Sinema flip Jeff Flake’s Arizona Senate Seat,” which called Arpaio an “ex-felon” (Arpaio’s’ lawsuit claims that Rolling Stone “silently changed” its article to remove the ex-felon label and instead claim he was “convicted of contempt of court, a misdemeanor….and pardoned by Trump.” The article currently carries an editor’s note which reads: “Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that Joe Arpaio’s criminal conviction for contempt of court was a misdemeanor, not a felony. He received a presidential pardon in 2017. We regret the error.”
Arpaio’s lawsuit says the articles will and do hurt his “chances and prospects of election to the U.S. Senate in 2020” as well as his potenial fundraising abilities.
Arpaio filed a libel lawsuit against the New York Times in October over an opinion piece about his unsuccessful Arizona Senate primary candidacy that called him a “truly sadistic man,” as iMediaEthics reported.
Hat Tip: Law and Crime