CNN & Others Hit With $300M Defamation Suit By Joe Arpaio; Claims Senate Bid In Peril Over “Felon” Comments

Joe Arpaio CNN

It’s starting to feel a lot like that Joe Arpaio likes to sue media outlets almost as much as he liked violating the constitutional rights of the detained when he was the much-spotlighted sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County for 24 years.

Convicted of contempt of court back in July of last year, the 2020 Senate hopeful went after the New York Times in October for defamation and now he’s added CNN, host Chris Cuomo, cable newser boss Jeff Zucker, plus the Huffington Post and Rolling Stone to the list in a suit seeking actual, compensatory, and punitive damages in excess of $300,500,000 USD, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and any other relief that this Court may deem just and proper” (read the filing here).

Essentially, like the NYT action, the Donald Trump-pardoned Arpaio, who was investigated by the feds and others repeatedly during his reign of terror, objects to what were clear errors by the defendants on his legal status.

On January of this year, Cuomo incorrectly called Arpaio a “convicted felon” when reporting on the latter’s short-lived attempt to secure the GOP’s 2018 Senate nomination for the Grand Canyon state. Sentenced to six months behind bars, Arpaio’s 2017 conviction of intentionally disregarding a court order to stop his department’s particular enforcement of federal immigration laws actually was a misdemeanor.

Proving that Arpaio has lost none of his penchant for hyperbole despite having been booted out by local voters in 2016, the complaint filed in federal court yesterday claims the disgraced ex-sheriff’s “chances and prospects of election to the U.S. Senate in 2020 have been severely harmed by the publication of false and fraudulent facts.”

Pardoned by a base-pandering Trump, who timed his widely derided move to coincide with Hurricane Harvey coverage last year for better ratings, Who Is America? alum Arpaio also slams HuffPo and Rolling Stone for similar slips as CNN. Though in the case of the latter publication a recent correction of the “ex-felon” remark in their November 13 article didn’t seem to be enough to satisfy the politician – or his notion of his prospects in a state that just elected a Democrat to its most recent open Senate seat.

“Defendants published the Defamatory Publications to influence the RNC, the RNCC and affiliated political action committee and persons, and other donors, to withhold funding for Plaintiff Arpaio’s 2020 political campaign by smearing and destroying his reputation and standing in his law enforcement, government and political community,” the three-claim filing in District Court in D.C. postulates. Plaintiff Arpaio has been harmed as to his reputation as ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’ and financially by the publication of the Defamatory Article,” the filing adds.

When contacted by Deadline, HuffPo did not respond to request for comment and CNN declined to comment on the latest Arpaio lawsuit. Rolling Stone’s parent company PMC, which is also the parent company of Deadline, had no comment on the matter too. However, the RS article in question that Arpaio refers to doing him wrong does have this at the bottom: “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 is represented in this matter by Larry Klayman, the founder of DC-based Judicial and Freedom Watch.

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