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. Jeff

    Saint Sarah under investigation? No way!

    July 5, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. ralph tyler

    Sarah Palin is such a gift.

    July 5, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Skyview

    Palin is a public figure and subject to reasonable public cricizism as are all public figures. Its amazing that she accuses others of a double standard against her, when she has been guilty of making the most insane statements about Obama and others. She should be examined for mental problems.

    July 5, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Riz

    Well, then, how about reporting EXTENSIVELY about her giving the keynote speech to the Alaska Independence Movement, which states that leaving the Union is their primary goal. So, she supports states that want to lead the U.S., while she wants to lead the U.S.? Awesome.

    p.s. I look forward to receiving a letter from her attorney.

    July 5, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Andrew

    what ever happened to freedom of speech or the 1st Amendment?

    July 5, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. OBSERVER

    Where there is SMOKE . . . The fire will burn to the surface. I am sure that Ms Palin has reazlly only decided to go back to SCHOOL. After all she needs to learn so much before 2012.

    July 5, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. laura

    I wouldn't know who Ms. Moore is if Palin didn't draw attention to her, and her website. She's not known outside Alaska and there's a million little liberal blogs, her's isn't special. This is just a cat fight. MEOW!

    July 5, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. D

    Sounds like somebody doesn't wanna be investigated.

    July 5, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Dixie

    Poor Sarah. I doubt she will be suing anyone until her work of fiction comes out next year. Money. Money. She brings her troubles on herself.

    July 5, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    Here come the other shoe. You don't hire a lawyer if you not any trouble.

    July 5, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Bruce

    Good for her. I think it would be fair to say, at this point, that the Media will now face those they have recklessly accused. I hope that all the Liberal Media is Bankrupt by the time Palin is finished with them.

    July 5, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Doug Chalker

    Always the victim. Its the media's fault that Alaska is running a budget deficit. Its the media's fault that some people think I'm not the sharpest tack. Gov. Palin's media degree taught her one thing, blame the messenger.

    July 5, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Ed

    Speculation, questioning ones behavior, being generally inquisitive and mere wondering come with a life in the spotlight. Perhaps if she doesn't want this in her life, then Sarah Palin should have chosen another profession other than holding public office.

    She is one of so many examples in her party who piss and moan when things are not just as they want them. Get a life for Gods sake and shut up. It comes with the territory.

    Brace up, or get out. I for one will take the latter.

    July 5, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Sherry

    Sarah Palin! Sarah Palin! Girl what are you doing? or should I say What have you done? You Sarah are opening up a CAN OF WORMS for yourself. You are giving people a reason to talk. I am not judging you but 'IT IS WHAT IT IS"

    July 5, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Tommy - LA

    Her higher grounds consist of whining, complaining and the rest of her theatics – nothing, nothing of substance as usual.

    she milked the heck out of AK...now that she really has to work and can't give out checks for oil......she leaves because Todd can't sit in meetings anyone (making the decisions) and he can't be copied on emails anymore – This is the reason she is quitting. Now Sue Tom the blogger

    July 5, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. Brandon

    I'm a registered Republican, and I can't wait for this idiot to be out of the headlines. Glad I voted Obama.

    July 5, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. Theda Zaretsky

    Sarah, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    July 5, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. realtimes

    To think this woman ever uttered a word about Hillary Clinton and "percieved whining". A hollow politician to the last.

    Sarah Palin has in fact stepped down in order to pursue her fulltime passion of being offended by and complaining about stuff.

    July 5, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Brent

    The fact this moronic joke of a governor is still in the news is stunning to me; I used to respect John McCain, but we should never forgive him for catapulting this idiot onto the national stage. She embarrasses the entire country.

    July 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Andrew

    Wah. She shoull try living through what Hillary Clinton has gone through. Eight years of political operatives peddling stories about murdering her best friend, alegations of lesbianism, etc etc etc.

    Palin hardy put up with anything, and manufactured most of it herself anyway.

    July 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. GAK

    Good luck proving Ex -Gov Palin was defamed...All she has to do is talk and that's enough ammo for anyone to write on.. I love scare tactics by lawyers and Palin complained about all the money wasted on disproving ethics charges,who's wasting money now???

    July 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. MK

    Maybe CNN could edit "champly" (previous story) and his posts because he is bordering on the verge of libel and slander. He actually predicted/ stated that President Obama was going to be impeached for TREASON. Why is that speculation tolerated and Moore can't speculate on why Palin quit her job?

    Palin's attnorney was quoted as saying...."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."

    I say what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Make "champly" prove his riduculous accusations or shut his trap.

    July 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Glen

    WHO CARES She a joke

    July 5, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. John E Lexington KY

    I think all media outlets should heed this hack's warning, and not report ANYTHING regarding Sarah Palin for the duration of her life. The risk of incurring her legal wrath is too great. Simply ignore her into oblivion which is what should have happened to Nixon after his '62 loss and press conference and certainly after his disgrace and resignation. She has done nothing of interest and merits no attention; now her lawyer demands it. Please comply with his ultimatum.

    July 5, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Mark

    Dig that hole even deeper. That's it.

    July 5, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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