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. hsl

    This chicky needs to toughen up...

    Again she projects herself in such a way that speculation on her actions is inevitable.

    Which then garners her more media attention.

    Perhaps if she was straight forward and not attempting to leave cliff hangers this would not happen.

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

    Nothing like a good ol fashion law suit to level the playing field. Sounds like the Palins are adopting the same playbook the Obamas and the Cheecago pol machine use so well. Out em and nail em. I think most people are just plain jealous of the Palins. When someone comes along and stands up to the real mean people in America, their outrage gives them away. Not being as "precious" as others causes tantrums on the left. Who cares whos in the govment. Politicians are ALL alike. Some are just more greasy acceptable than others. These responses shoot up for tabloid type opinion and crash for real news stories. tHE RESPONSE COUNT GETS CLOSED MUCH LATER IT SEEMS THE MEANER THE RESPONSES. yEAH ITS SO!!!! NOT BEING PRECIOUS MUST REALLY BE A TRIAL FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST NOBODIES!!!! GET OVER IT!!! NO ONE THAT REALLY MATTERS CARES WHO YOU HATE!!!!!

    July 5, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. ghj

    oh, good lord

    July 5, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. cj

    You know your career has hit an all time low when you have to defend a moron like Palin.
    If she really is resigning to concentrate on the 2012 Presidental bid, then she is the single most arrogant person in the world. She symbolizes mediocrity, at the very best.
    Enough already.

    July 5, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. LN

    Palin, you go girl

    July 5, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |

    Instead of a legal notice/warning, palins could simply say that there was no ongoing federal investigation against the soon-to-be ex-governor. i wonder why she choose to show her hostility against the press. Does she know the price tag for such warning?

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Curtis in WI

    SO, the strategy seems to be – "If I constantly paint myself in the worst light in any given situation then eventually I will look bad enough that everyone will vote for me over anyone!!"??

    Uh, no.

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Carl Justus

    If the media would just ignore Sarah Palin, she would eventually go away. I have heard enough of Sarah Palin. The more she talks the less I like her. She would be 100% better off if she would only keep her mouth shut and take care the business of Alaska.

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Adam Sanchez

    Certainly, Palin has a right to do what she wants.
    However, she has a chosen for herself a very public life.
    Her reaction to critique and analysis–the same as all public figures (for better or for worse)–clearly questions her ability to serve in politics on a national level.
    At least she is showing us what she is made of before too much is made of her.

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Mike

    Unfortunately for Mrs. Palin and her ignoramus of an attorney, the media can publish stories regarding other people's allegations without any risk of legal trouble. Perhaps she should be more worried about learning how the legal system actually works. Back to school, Palin.

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Marco

    I hope this is the end of her. I feel so sorry for her because she no clue how little she knows.

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Mike Stanton

    So... now her strategy is to have her attorney go after anyone who says anything negative about her? That should work out well for her...

    July 5, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. RUTY

    Who cares what happens to Palin? She should shut up and go away is she dosen't want to be in the news.

    July 5, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. AJ

    Great to see the "champion" of america and it's constitution, attack the first amendment. God you have to love the hypocrisy of this...."person".

    July 5, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Stephen Coughlin

    I am an Independent and in no way support Ms. Palin's political ambitions, but I must say that unfounded media defamation is terrible and not to be tolerated by thoughtful human beings of any persuasion. Such terrible methods to obtain press coverage only work if it is tolerated by those who read and listen to the news. Ms. Palin has a young family and has done nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, except that she has become a target for those who FEAR her considerable political clout. They are already worried about her future ability to mobilize voters to her side in any issue. LEAVE HER ALONE, and let her make her own "bed" to lie in. History will tell the true story.

    July 5, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Josh Emery

    I hate this woman. I just thought she was an idiot until recently, now I genuinely dislike her. For reasons that I can't explain I end up reading news about her, but even so, I would be thrilled if I never heard another thing about her.

    July 5, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Conservative Voice

    For the good of the future of the GOP please disappear from public life, from public office and stop playing to the media... this is a time to regroup, reconsider and reform – not to further drive ourselves into the political wilderness.

    July 5, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. JaneB3

    Palin and her attorney are trying to suppress the press.. Interesting

    July 5, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. lynn in NM

    Make sure you nail the media to the wall!!! You should have done that before.

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. FL

    If all media outlets checked facts before propagating rumor, half the "news" would be gone and all the gossip sites, mags and shows would be out of business. What a great day that would be!

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. terri Sel

    She is nuts – that's really all that can be said about her as any type of political figure.

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Martha

    Personally my suggestion is to take Sarah "What's Her name" totally out of all reporting....it is just a big waste of time....we need to move on to more important things......instead of all her babble and trouble making...she is not worth my reading time.

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    Never before has there been a politician that talked so much and yet says nothing at all. She rambles on an on, punctuating an occasional phrase with a "you betcha" or "gosh darn-it" then winks or raises her finger for emphasis on absolutely nothing. And people buy this stuff as words of wisdom.
    At least one thing I grateful for regarding her resignation, it gave reporters something else talk about other than Michael Jackson. Thank you Governor Palin.

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Jersey Bob

    For better or worse, public officials are not subject to the same libel and slander standards as private citizens, so Van Flein's threats are meaningless.

    Palin purposely thrust herself into the public limelight when she ran for mayor, governor and vice president, and again with public appearances and making herself a front-page news item. Heck, people used to sell videos accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of murder, and they had little recourse. Van Flein is simply trying to scare people into self-censorship. Palin made her bed, now she has to sleep in it.

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Joanna in PA

    I want to sue Palin for defaming Obama, calling him a terrorist and the other outright lies she spewed. She instilled so much unwarranted fear about Obama that she had people yelling"kill him". But i guess thats OK by Sarah? Just as long as its not directed at her right? This women is such a cry baby its pathetic. Plain had the audacity to pick on Hillary for getting emotional. What a joke.
    Had she been elected to VP we would have at total media shut down.

    July 5, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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