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

Palin attorney warns media over 'defamatory' charges

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/05/art.palins0705.gi.jpg caption="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. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    There's more to this resignation than we all know at the moment ... there is something coming down the pipe on Sarah Palin ... and its probably not going to be pretty! If the reports and bloggers speak the truth, Ms. Palin is not going to be able to claim "defamation".

    July 5, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    not ready for prime time now or ever

    July 5, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. Mark

    She has every right to defend herself against the nasty, liberal, biased media. Take it to em, Sarah!

    July 5, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. VIG

    THe gottcha game is in full play –

    July 5, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. bluebird

    Good for her. I hope she sues and wins. While I wouldn't vote for her, the media has been not stop harrassment of her and her family. The media has way out of line and I am tired of her persecution of her beliefs. It's sad and should have stopped a long time ago. The media and I mean ALL of the media have overstepped their bounds and have no integrity for the masses.

    July 5, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. J. Schow

    I guess it was ok for her to repeat herself over and over (during the fall campaign) that President Obama was hanging around with terrorists (which was a lie) but it is NOT ok for others to speculate about this decision to step down as governor. She (Palin) may go down as the most thin-skinned politician of all time. I wonder if it is too late for President Obama to sue her for the lies that she was spreading during the campaign?! Oh well, it wouldn't be worth it anyway because the only asset he would probably be awarded is a spot in some trailer park in Wasilla.

    July 5, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Letcommonsenseprevail

    Oh NO! The media held accountable for something they publish? Say it isn't so.....

    Like her or hate her...at least SOMEONE is doing something to stop the tabloid journalism from so-called "reputable" media outlets. I don't care who you are, it's getting out of hand and taking away from the issues.

    July 5, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Proud American

    Now it looks like the Idiots are going after each other.

    July 5, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. mike from Iowa


    Can anyone else see how funny this is? 🙂

    "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."

    This was the dumbest attorney move I've ever seen....this guy just accomplished what he set out NOT to do.

    July 5, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Proud American

    All this does is keep this Moron front page in the media for the next couple weeks.

    July 5, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. mary

    This is not about country....this is about Sarah!! As always. What was with that rambling speech she gave as she was "quitting" Alaska?? I think she is as paranoid as Richard Nixon. The media is not doing anything to her....she does it to herself. She's one of the most incompentent politicians I've ever seen. The Republican party would be smart to remove itself from anything associated with the Palins.

    July 5, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Kristine

    Wailin Palin... it was okay for her to slander Obama by saying he "pals around with terrorists" but criticism of her is met with the threat of Iawsuits??? She just LOVES to dish it out but she doesn't have the backbone to take it. This women is lacking many things not the least of which are intellect, grace and humility. She stated that the "media will never understand". Even a pyschiatrist would have a hard time unravelling her "wiring"!

    July 5, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Vanessa

    So, I guess this means she IS under some kind of federal investigation?

    July 5, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Zero.

    The Moore-Dirt- Digger.

    July 5, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. tjaman

    Sarah! SHUT UP already!

    July 5, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. TangledThorns

    Stupid Leftist bloggers, when will they ever learn? Sarah 2012!!

    July 5, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. elle_nelson@yahoo.com

    Go Palin. Continue to address rumors. The media should be ashamed of themselves. But, yet CNN is one of the big ones to splash you around as incompetent and full of scandles. She is also addressing CNN here.

    July 5, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. Melissa

    Oh my god. What a whiny child she is. She's famous. Its part of being famous. All the other stars have to deal with it, so why wouldn't Palin?

    July 5, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Joe

    First off, maybe Sarah is smarter than I give her credit for. Maybe, like her fellow moral elitist friends (Gov Sandford and others), she has some skeletons in her closet that she thinks have a better chance of staying hidden if she is not in public office. Also, to the media ... I'd take her lawyer's warning seriously. It appears that this is all set up for her to cash in big time on her 15 minutes of fame and I'm assuming they will not be too shy about who they try to get money out of.

    July 5, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Diane

    Wow, she is really protesting a lot. How interesting that this comes from a LAWYER. Defensive much? Time will tell what she did.

    July 5, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    Here it comes--– they have found, in fact, that she wasn't overseas visiing troops -– she was hiking the Appalachian Trail !!

    July 5, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. EcoAZ

    Good. People need to start being held accountable for their actions on the air, online, and in media comment boards.

    July 5, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Reality Counts

    Sarah can thank her attorney for letting us all know that she may be under Federal Investigation for some alledged crimes.

    Really it's only the HONEST and LAW ABIDING PEOPLE that are upset by being merely accused–for the real criminals even going to jail doesn't seem to really boher them much.

    July 5, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Naldo

    Wah – wah – wah! How about all the speeches where Palin called her opponents "socialists" or "terrorists" ? The blade cuts both ways.

    July 5, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Jerry Springer

    Incredible, absolutely incredible.....

    This woman is the most HORRIBLE politician I have ever seen....

    The threats from her Lawyer WILL NOT change mainstream Americas view about this childish woman......

    I'm wondering how can we hold John McCain responsible for her birth onto the big stage, if McCain had never picked her......Well I wouldn't even be typing what I'm typing, and it would be a mute point.....

    July 5, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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