Arpaio claims an opinion piece by Michelle Cottle includes “false, defamatory factual assertions” that will hurt his 2020 campaign for the late Sen. John McCain’s seat.
Former Maricopa, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed a libel suit against the New York Times and a member of its editorial board, Politico reports. In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the ex-lawman takes issue with a Times opinion piece published after Arpaio’s loss in the state’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate. The article by Michelle Cottle was headlined, “Well, at Least Sheriff Joe Isn’t Going to Congress: Arpaio’s loss in Arizona’s Senate Republican primary is a fitting end to the public life of a truly sadistic man.” Arpaio argues that the piece “contains several false, defamatory factual assertions.” He says claims in the article were “carefully and maliciously calculated to damage and injure” his reputation among the law enforcement community, as well as among GOP donors who could help bankroll his 2020 run for the late Sen. John McCain’s seat, currently held by Sen. Jon Kyl.
Arpaio seeks $147.5 million in damages from Cottle and the Times, as well as his attorneys’ fees and costs. He is represented by Larry Klayman of the conservative watchdog group Freedom Watch. Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said, “We intend to vigorously defend against the lawsuit.” Before running for the Senate, Arpaio was known for his strong anti-immigration stance, as well as allegations of professional misconduct. He was convicted of contempt of court in July 2017 but was pardoned by President Trump the next month.