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. vick

    If she becomes the president I am moving to Canada

    July 5, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. I used to be a Democrat

    Sue, Sarah, sue! Sue them all...

    July 5, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Kathryn Ash

    It appears that in addition to the liberal media not understanding, niether does the brilliant Ruplican stategist, Carl Rove...is that also "sad?"

    July 5, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. Bob in Baltimore

    Sarah Palin is a moronic imbacile who is all about Sarah Palin and no one else. Anyone with any intelligence would quickly realize as fast as she opens her mouth she sticks more than just her foot in it.

    As far as her resignation, I cannot wait till the end of the month...."Thank God and Greyhound She's Gone", and the rest of her dysfunctional family.

    If she isn't under investigation, she should be! Maybe she hears the footsteps of impeachment creaping up on her reign of stupidity, What a total fraud.....no wonder McCain lost the election in a landslide.

    July 5, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Simmy

    She made herself available to all types medium (National Inquirer included) when she presented herself to the public as McCain's running mate, and appeared on SNL.......Celebrities don't get to pick and choose the type news they want to hear about themselves......However, lies and damaging reports about her and family are worthy of legal action.....We shall see.......

    July 5, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Fran Kirchner

    Good Grief! What else?

    July 5, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Fan of Common Sense

    Sarah Palin is the perfect example of why good people do not run for political office......And we wonder why this country is so screwed up.

    July 5, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. John in VA

    The media doesn't need to be libelous or defamatory – Sarah Palin does it to herself.

    July 5, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Moonbeam

    Do Palin and her lawyer know that "media" is plural? Singular is "medium" and there are great many of them: Medium of cinema, medium of photography, medium of journalism, medium of music, etc, etc.
    To which of these his warning applied? Can Ms. Moore "defame" Mrs. Palin through the medium of dance, for example?

    July 5, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. alvino

    As a candidate who spent her entire camaign defaming and lying about her opponents, she sure has thin skin. I am fairly confident the truth will come out on the Hannity or Beck Show. (Just kidding)

    July 5, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. zen guerrilla

    embezzlement... hoo boy, you bet'cha! and some people think she'd make a good president... HA!

    July 5, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Kathy Stenger

    You're a piece of work Sarah

    July 5, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Zaley

    She's good at one thing only....threats. This should bring the media to their knees. How dare they "pick on" Sarah? lol lol lol lol

    July 5, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Barbara

    She states, "It's about country." If that were true she'd fade away forever. Let's face it, "It's about Palin."

    July 5, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. yancy

    This is too funny!!

    July 5, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Liza

    I'm sorry, didn't you mean "mainstream media?"

    July 5, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. sue

    Good move, Sarah.
    The left and the media will no longer be able to file frivolous fake ethics suits and if they defame her, she can sue. And now she can travel and make money and let people get to know her.
    The left is shaking but they'll keep calling her names.
    Maureen Dowd is just jealous.

    July 5, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Jon

    lol, well-played Cnn. Of course, now it sees obvious these are the reasons, otherwise, why would the lawyer say this?

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. FastEddie626

    LOL I really hope she does run in 2012 for the Republicans' Easy pickings for the Dems! 🙂

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Sarah Palin:


    🙁 🙁 🙁

    God you suck. Go away.

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. joseph

    Gee, she almost sounds like the Ayatollah Khamenei.

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Save America

    Sarah,I hope you follow everything nitwit obama says and speak up and tell the American people the truth about what he is saying and call him out on his lies and coverups.
    We need a voice in this country and you would make a good one.
    PLEASE....................call out obama on his lies to the American people.
    Everytime he opens his mouth make sure it's crystal clean to the American people.
    He talks about insurance and cap and trade and never tells the truth.
    How about Senate Bill S-787...the Federal government will own ALL the water in the US......on your property and below ground on your property.
    Some of you need to go to http://www.thefoxnation and watch a film on our water rights – The Great Water Heist.

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Mr. Brown

    Dang she is punking CNN....bloggers and anyone who disgrees with her. Sue me... She's a fool.....period.


    Will be a Sale out.........we all like a train wreck!!!

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. BBSROrissa

    What about Palin herself defaming Obama? The FBI reported that the number of potential threats to Obama rose several fold during the campaign, right after her rabble rousing speeches about Obama "palling around with terrorists"?

    Palin is downright disgusting.

    July 5, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Jaime H.

    So the bimbo has a new toothless attack dog. hmmm... Jerry!, Jerry!, Jerry!.

    July 5, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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