My old pal Larry Klayman has filed yet another defamation suit, this one on behalf of fascist former Sheriff Joe Arpaio against the New York Times for an editorial they published a few weeks ago that detailed his long record of unconstitutional abuses and racist policing. They’re asking for a ludicrous $147 million in damages.
The complaint, filed and published on Klayman’s website yesterday, asserts that while the column “is strategically titled as an opinion piece” it asserts that Arpaio “was directly responsible for numerous inmate deaths during his time as sheriff of Maricopa County” and was “directly responsible for numerous abused, assaulted, and battered inmates during his time as sheriff of Maricopa County.”Cottle’s column factually stated: “Inmates [in Arpaio’s jail] were beaten, fed rancid food, denied medical care (this included pregnant women) and, in at least one case, left battered on the floor to die.” In fact, Arpaio has faced multiple lawsuits for inmate deaths in facilities he oversaw in his time as sheriff, and for denying medical care to a pregnant woman that resulted in the death of her child during labor.
As a graduate of an actual law school, Klayman almost certainly knows that he has no case here. First, the truth is an absolute defense against a defamation suit and everything said in the editorial is true. Second, the bar is set even higher for public figures and even higher again when it involves freedom of the press. Like his hero Trump, Klayman would love to be able to use the courts to shut down criticism of him and his pals, but the Constitution simply doesn’t allow it. But Klayman is not to be deterred by pesky little things like the rule of law or the First Amendment; his tireless crusade against reality and rationality continues apace. This one never makes it pass a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment. As usual.