Sheriff Joe Strikes Back Against Mainstream Media in Major Blow
Filed on Monday, the 10-page lawsuit lists CNN President Jeff Zucker, CNN on-air personality Chris Cuomo, CNN itself, HuffPo political reporter Kevin Robillard, the HuffPo itself, Rolling Stone magazine staff writer Tessa Stuart and Rolling Stone magazine as the named defendants.
“Plaintiff Arpaio has been the target of three separate defamatory publications that falsely refer to and defamed him per se as a convicted felon,” the filing alleges.
Regarding CNN specifically, the lawsuit cites a January 10, 2018 broadcast about Arpaio’s entry into Arizona’s 2018 U.S. Senate race for the seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake. During this broadcast, Cuomo discussed the record of the controversial former sheriff but made one big mistake about Arpaio’s criminal record.
According to the filing, Cuomo called Arpaio a "convicted felon" despite Arpaio never being convicted. As of this article's publication, CNN has not corrected the record.
Arpaio's suit targets HuffPo for false reporting about his criminal record in an article claiming "America's toughest sheriff" had been "sent to prison for contempt of court." Of course, that never happened.
HuffPo also never took action to set the record straight.
A Rolling Stone article from November 13, 2018, incorrectly referred to Arpaio as an "ex-felon."
The magazine since updated the article and issued a correction.
Their attempt to take responsibility has not satisfied Arpaio, who claims the retraction was too little, too late and that its readers still believe the 86-year-old public servant is a convicted criminal.
Arpaio is seeking $300 million in damages. Such a figure, even if victorious, seems highly unlikely. So what's his endgame?
The filing reveals a deeper intention:
“Plaintiff Arpaio’s distinguished 55-year law enforcement and political career has been severely harmed, as his reputation has been severely damaged among and with the Republican establishment,” the lawsuit says.
The conservative firebrand seeks to run for higher office again but realizes it's critical to remain palatable to establishment Republicans.
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