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. Ann

    I know why Sarah quit –
    there's definately much more money in the porn business.

    July 5, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. I hand out crying towels for republicans daily

    Poor little Sarah.Why would anyone think she could commit a crime?

    July 5, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. PhillyCat

    Sarah Palin is INSANE.
    Go on Republican-base Sarah Palin lovers and try to nominate/elect in her 2012. Then watch the theatrics.

    This woman needs a Jerry Springer talk show so she can vent and sing the, "Somebody Done Me Wrong," song down in the lower 48.

    July 5, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Engineer in Raleigh

    When the going gets tough, the tough whine, quit their jobs, and lawyer up. Johnnie Cochran, here we come.

    Hey Republicans, whatever happened to "tort reform"?

    July 5, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. N. Margaret

    I smell a rat. Something is going on behind the scenes that we don't know about - yet.

    I predict that it will all come out in the next few weeks, and Sarah Palin will not be cast in a good light - professionally, or possibly, personally. Call me a cynic, but I'd bet anyone that her resignation was not made just "for the good of Alaska"!

    July 5, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Robert in CT

    Public figures cannot bully individuals for speaking their views, even if they are incorrect or kooky. Has Obama sought to legally attack the Birthers? Did Bush legally attack those who ridiculed him?

    Palin really doesn't understand freedom of speech laws, and is frankly, very scary to imagine in any kind of public office again.

    Luckily, any court, even packed with conservatives, would throw out the type of legal action mentioned in this article.

    July 5, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. illustrator

    WOW...how much defamation went on during the campaigning for pres last year?

    July 5, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Ken in NC

    WOW Lady. If you cannot stand the heat then get outta the kitchen. You are not the only politician the media has come down on hard. Go talk to the likes of Senator McCain, President Obama, Gov. Sanford and others to get an idea of what it is like to be hit hard by the media. Get over it. What kind of a President will you make if you whine and complain like this when you are not even in office?

    July 5, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Greg

    Poor little Sarah. The one who's always quoting the Constitution and Bill of Rights wants to violate them. Apparently freedom of the press and freedom of speech don't apply. She only knows one, right to bear arms.

    Keep threatening, you'll get laughed out of court. Time for you to just go away, you betchya.

    July 5, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. jack

    if she becomes president (Heaven forbid-but keep in mind that 47% of the US population voted for her)- will she resign in the middle of her term and an international crisis- if the Saudi King or China offer her 30 billion dollars?
    will she handover state secrets for hard, cold cash?

    If she could resign in active duty, for her political future....what else is he capable of?
    McCain has created a monster in his wake. I will never forgive him for sending the country in this wild spiral. I loved him, but this will put him the dark pages for ever.

    July 5, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. clifford

    cool. maybe the liberal news networks that try to pass themselves off as legitimate media might actually have to do a little fact checking before passing something off as news.

    that being said, i hope palin will keep herself out of the spotlight for awhile. quite frankly, she is no longer as cool as what i first thought.

    July 5, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    I guarantee as this thread plays out it will be salted with philippics from rabid Palin lovers bemoaning "all the hate" being spewed by loathsome Liberals because they are so "scared" of her.

    We were at a party last night, more or less divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats, and a discussion began about Palin's resignation. None of the Dems, all of whom regard her as little more than a punchline, seemed at all scared of her. The ones worried about her were the Repugs, because of the chaos she has sown in the Party and the serious concern that if she doesn't get the nomination she will mount a third party campaign, effectively draining the Party nominee of the most dependable voters the Republicans have: the people who believe Palin has been chosen by God to lead out nation in the end of times.

    OK, maybe that is a little scary.

    July 5, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Sean

    Never in my life have I seen anybody cry victim more than Sarah Palin. Its a poorly veiled attempt to gain feminist support by creating "attacks" from a "sexist" media. However feminists are not stupid. They know who support them and who are against them and even if their charges of sexism are often untrue, they will not come to the aid of an enemy of womens lib like Sarah Palin. She can try and try and try but it just is not going to work. She's finished in 2012, now its between Romney and the religious right.

    July 5, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. jeff

    Sarah please oh please run against against President Obama I want to see the biggest democratic landslide in history.

    July 5, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Amused

    I hadn't heard that she was under investigation. Thanks for the heads up, Sarah.

    By the way, are you familiar with the term 'Irony"?

    July 5, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. steve

    She's just a big old QUITTER!

    July 5, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    The problem with Republican bottom of the barrel tactics is that it takes their bottom of the barrel RED-NECKS, and brings them to the forefront. When they become the face of the party, the moderate and decent Republicans (there were few of them, Arlen Specter etc....) don't want anything to do with the party.

    As far as I'm concerned, they can take the whole now degenerate party and go to Hell...

    ...and leave this country to the progressives who act on thought not childish emotions.

    July 5, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. Bobby

    Unfortunately this is they way Ms. Palin would have handled the whole country if elected to national office, with a gag, a legal summons and a moose gun to our heads.

    July 5, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    Personally it would not bother me if it were true as I would really like to see Palin and all cronies do the perp walk. That would really be funny. Other than that just please go away Palin and not let us know where you are – Maybe you could go to your backyard and become a watch dog for PUTIN as he flies over. But really just go away!!!!!

    July 5, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. David E.


    I know the liberal left will use a lot of elementary words, and eclamation points talking with glee at Sarah's decision. Also mentioned will be about the governor who had the affair, and how the whole GOP is going 'down'.

    Please take a step or two back, and realize a lot of Pres. Obama's picks for cabinet posts had to decline for special 'reasons'.

    It is to the point, no matter what Sarah does....the left will howl at her. If she gets mad at letterman...she has not sense of humor. If she makes a jab at John Kerry...she should just back out.

    Well folks...she is backing out...and you still don't let her just be.

    Please...just enjoy the next 3 1/2 years and watch 30 rock and chill.

    July 5, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. don corpier

    does it ever end. now the little air head and her idiot hubby toddy boy are going to sue the news media. when is she going to run out of cheap tricks to keep herself in the news. sarah and toddy bring about their own demise. i suppose they want all news agencies etc. to model them selves after faux news-im sorry i meant fox. we could wake up every day to lies and biased reporting. i cant figure out where these two are getting their money. after shelling out 10k for illegal travel and another 500k for attorney fees they should be broke. i forgot rush limbaugh and his right wing bigots have been busy rounding up cash. maybe fox has been diverting funds(illegal) to help out. better yet maybe some of the embezzled state funds she is about to be indicted for. are the attorneys suggesting sue- doing this for free-you dont get a percentage of 0 which is exactly what they are up against. sarah, toddy sue me stating the truth. you two are a disgrace to this country.

    July 5, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Dick M

    Muzzle the media? Yeah, sure. Sounds just like a Republican.

    July 5, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Barbara Campbell

    Wow, Palin and her deranged cohorts have really gone over the edge. Are they familiar with the First Amendment? Have they noticed any "defamatory" stories on Fox "news" about Democrats? How about Palin's defamatory allegations that President Obama was "palling around with terrorists"?

    This woman is as shallow and self-absorbed as most beauty queens. Once again, Palin makes clear that she can dish it out but can't take it. Just amazing that she's now threatening to sue the media if anything negative is said about her. Palin is having a real tough time facing the reality of who she is.

    July 5, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Matt

    Wow, so her supporters and bloggers on the right can say anything they want but left wing bloggers will be taken to court for rumors? I just love her small town values. Heil Palin!!

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