July 5th, 2009
03:31 PM ET
5 years ago

Palin attorney warns media over 'defamatory' charges

In a memo circulated to reporters Saturday evening, an attorney warned that the Palins will go to court if others re-publish allegations of wrongdoing already published by certain Web sites including one run by a liberal Alaska blogger.
In a memo circulated to reporters Saturday evening, an attorney warned that the Palins will go to court if others re-publish allegations of wrongdoing already published by certain Web sites including one run by a liberal Alaska blogger.

(CNN) – As Gov. Sarah Palin blasted the media Saturday in a tough Facebook post, her attorney delivered a strong warning to news outlets that they should not report any stories that allege the Alaska governor is leaving office because she is under any kind of federal investigation.

CNN has not reported these allegations were in any way connected to the governor's decision to leave office early.

"To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation," said lawyer Thomas Van Flein in a letter (pdf) sent to reporters Saturday.

"This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation... that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law."

Moore could not be reached for comment, but told the Anchorage Daily News that she had not presented the claims as fact, and did not know whether or not they had merit, but merely served as a conduit for the rumors - which had been raised again in the wake of the governor's surprise announcement Friday.

"I haven't defamed the governor, I reported on speculation and rumor in Alaska. ... It's not my rumor; it's been out there for 10 months and the First Amendment protects me," she told the paper. "Even if I didn't say it's 'rumors and speculation,' I'm still protected - I would just lose credibility, which I'm not willing to do."

Van Flein also said in his letter Saturday that the Palin camp "can categorically state that we are not aware of any 'federal investigation' that has been 'pending' for the last seven years... To be blunt - this 'story' was alleged during the campaign, evaluated then by national media and deemed meritless. Nothing has changed."

The attorney delivered a withering critique of the media. "Just as power abhors a vacuum, modern journalism apparently abhors any type of due diligence and fact checking before scurrilous allegations are repeated as fact," he wrote.

"The Alaska Constitution protects the right of free speech, while simultaneously holding those 'responsible for the abuse of that right,'" he wrote. "These falsehoods abuse the right to free speech; continuing to publish these falsehoods of criminal activity is reckless, done without any regard for the truth, and is actionable."

On Saturday, Palin's message to supporters on her Facebook page alleged that a "different standard" was applied to her than to "countless others (who) leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term."

"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country," she wrote.

The Alaska governor did not participate in any public events on Independence Day, the day after her announcement that she would step down from office by the end of the month.


Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Jane

    I just want it and her and the Michael Jackson stuff to go away.

    July 5, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Patty from Pennsylvania

    "On Saturday, Palin's message to supporters on her Facebook page alleged that a "different standard" was applied to her than to "countless others (who) leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term"

    Please name a few of those "countless others". The only elected people I can recall leaving office mid-term were either crooks or announced candidates for other positions. I agree with the Senator from Alaska Murkowski..Palin has "abandoned" ger state and it's citizens.

    July 5, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    She is the worst, A crook who kills helpless animals. Go away.

    July 5, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. grey fox

    So, the best defense is a good offense. Threaten legal action to 'chill' the commentary. So much for the freedom of the press (including the net). I doubt that such commentary is actionable, but the threat certainly can scare people who don't have deep pockets into retreat.

    July 5, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Hayden

    The Obamatons will no doubt argue that Ms. Moore has every right to post the "rumors" about Gov. Palin's departure from office. Where were these same people when the facts about Obama were put out? These same liberal blogger types would have said that anything against Obama was a "distraction" but are willing to believe blatant mistruths about Gov. Palin.

    July 5, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. jeff schiff

    Just go away!!!

    July 5, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Lucille

    Yes, it is wrong for any news media to bite and devour a person with speculation. If there should be any wrong-doing, it will be substantiated soon enough. Her pesonal life and family activities are nobody's business.

    July 5, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Mississippi Man

    Since when did Palin care about Facts and the Truth.

    July 5, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Ron

    I am not a Palin admirer–at all. But I would add to what her attorney said, that the 24 hour news machine abhors a vacuum as well. There simply is not enough news, new news that is, to fill 24 hours a day, so we hear the constant drone of so-called "analysis" and the same stories over and over again. I might add, it's all about ratings and money. I've done it before: I'm about to do it again–go on a "news fast." Although I like to be informed, the "news" is generally speaking, so speculative, so petty, and so redundant, it is not good for ones health. Is anyone out there listening?
    I doubt it. I know all about freedom of speech. Too bad that most of the "news" is not worthy of listening to.

    July 5, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Alex

    going so vigorously defensive...that's like when you walk in a room and your kid yells out "I didn't do anything". makes one awfully suspicious.

    July 5, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Zack

    This woman is a fruitcake. She is a quitter who does nothing but complain that people are saying mean or false things about her and her family. I don't condone poking fun at her family, but this lady still shows a level of sensitivity that makes her unfit for the spot light. If this is the candidate the Republican's choose to run in 2012, we deserve to get four more years of the Democrats. Come on Repubs, you guys have a lot stronger candidates then this to parade in front of the news media. Ditch Rush and Palin and get some good men and women to show the nation.

    July 5, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Tim

    Sounds like there is paranoia coming from the Palin camp. Her reasoning for leaving Alaska's citizens high and dry, seems like a BS story. One does not leave an important office like the she had because of being afraid of lame duck status. There is something more to her story that she is leaving out, as usual.
    Not to mention, her lawyer cannot tell the press to keep quiet. The press is protected under the constitution. But that is typical of Republicans isn't it?

    July 5, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Susie

    Be careful, Sarah means business. Please put your free speech rights on hold whilst she figures out a way to make any pending charges against her the fault of left wing bloggers, and threaten them with jail. Since it is the internet's fault she lost her desired Washington job, and quit the current one, she is out for bear (wolf? caribou?) All in the best interests of her family, of course.

    July 5, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. chuck b / coastal n.carolina

    what a coward....she realizies she screwed up and now she is hideing behind her lawyers..... no backbone,no personality,no experience,no morals,no fight left in her. She looking for the easy way out of the troubles she brought to herself and she thinks people are either going to forget or forgive her if she runs for president. One thing she has not realized yet is that if she thought the media rode her ass before... wait ansd see what they will do her if she seeks another office.

    July 5, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Samantha

    Sarah Palin is a crook, liar, and hypocrite now the chickens have come home to roost. She is running from something (besides stupidity) and it will all be revealed. She can hide behind her lawyer but the writing is on the wall the covers are starting to be pulled back and the true person is starting to be revealed. Keep your eyes open world her days of blaming the media, DNC, Obama, and David letterman is coming to an end.
    And all of her double dealing are going to be in full focus....

    July 5, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Kim in Dodge City, KS

    Palin is a quiter and a loser, and Alaska is no doubt better off without her and her self serving ways. Maybe now we can finally get this moron out of the news cycle.

    July 5, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Drew

    If the media is forbidden from reporting something, then I'd say she is trying to hide something. It wouldn't surprise me- she's always felt like she was above the law.

    July 5, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Lefty

    A person who quits and smiles about it is pure looser.

    July 5, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. buckwheat

    Since when is it illegal for a Liberal new reporter to defame a conservative ? Why in the hell did Nancy Pelosi get by with accusing the CIA of misconduct? Why is no one investigating ACCORN? Where is transparency that was promised by your candidate? Why does the great one leave the country when things get tough? They should like him over there because he is always a bearer of gifts and apologies for the welfare we have sent all over the world.

    July 5, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. S M R

    The truth hurts , expecially when you see it in print. I hope she is guilty of something so this women can go away, SHE AND PEOPLE LIKE HERE ARE WHATS WRONG WITH AMERICA

    July 5, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Ladydiodes

    Palin needs to take care of her family and husband. She is oviously in way over her head and is just going to continue to bring the Republician party down more than it is already if that is possible.

    July 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Anna, Mo

    I am sure that there are a lot of media outlets that would love to be sued by Sarah and Todd Palin. It would provide a gold mine of information. They would have the right to all documents, emails, etc. and be allowed to question all persons under oath in depositions that give them broad leyway to ask all kinds of questions. The larger media organizations have large legal budgets, and lawyers that specialize in such activities. Where does she think she would get the money to cover her costs for such an adventure? If she thinks she has a huge legal bill now, wait til that bill started piling up. She would have to prove that it was with malcious intent, and any new organization can say it is simply reporting the news when they say that "there are rumors." Once again, Sarah is getting very poor advice, or she is refusing to listen to people that actually know more than she does, and she is just lashing out. Either way, it says that she still is not ready for primetime national politics.

    July 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. katy Heys

    Sarah Palin is making me sick.

    July 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. gumbosally

    anytime anyone of political prominence holds a press conference as disjointed and marginally coherent as the one gov. palin held last friday is vulnerable to all manner of specualtion. this mght not be fair, it might not even be reasonable, but it is the way of the news world. one would think that anyone in politics might know that by now. maybe those with thin skin best remove themselves from potential public scrutiny by adjourning to home and hearth for a while. a long while.

    July 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. johnrj08

    The journalists who are reporting hard news are not speculating about the reasons behind Palin's strange speech and decision to quite her job 18 months early. However, commentators and pundits are having a field day discussing why she might have made this decision. Her attorney cannot sue any of those people for speculating. That is an empty threat. In any case, if Palin was really interested in stopping all the talk she might consider just giving another news conference where reporters are allowed to ask questions. Right now, she's trying to have it both ways.

    July 5, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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