Joe Arpaio Files Defamation Lawsuit Against CNN, Rolling Stone and Huffington Post Over Criminal Record Reports

Suit says that former Maricopa County Sheriff’s “distinguished 55-year law enforcement and political career has been severely harmed”

Joe Arpaio will not stand idly by as the media paints him as a felon.

Former Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff and Senate candidate Arpaio has filed a lawsuit against CNN, Rolling Stone and Huffington Post, accusing the outlets of falsely portraying his criminal record.

The suit, which was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia on Monday and alleges defamation and false light, states that Arpaio “has been the target of three separate defamatory publications that falsely refer to and defamed him per se as a convicted felon.”

In one instance according to the suit, in January 2018, CNN personality Chris Cuomo “falsely and with reckless disregard for the truth stated that Plaintiff Arpaio was a ‘convicted felon’ … Plaintiff Arpaio has never been convicted of a felony.”

In a second instance, according to the suit, HuffPo published a November 2018 article falsely claimed that Arpaio had been “sent to prison for contempt of court … Plaintiff Arpaio has never been sent to prison for contempt of court.”

The suit also takes aim at Rolling Stone, saying that a Nov. 13, 2018 article falsely referred to Arpaio as an “ex-felon,” while, according to the suit, Arpaio “has never been convicted of a felony.”

The suit says that the Rolling Stone article was later, and silently, changed to say that “Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court, a misdemeanor, in 2017 and pardoned by Trump less than one month later.” However, the suit adds, “there is no indication on the Rolling Stone Article that a mistake had previously been made in referring to Plaintiff Arpaio as an ‘ex-felon.'”

A spokesperson for CNN told TheWrap on Tuesday that the outlet has no comment on the suit. TheWrap has reached out to a representative for Huffington Post and attempted to reach out to a representative for Roling Stone for comment on the suit.

“Plaintiff Arpaio’s distinguished 55-year law enforcement and political career has been severely harmed, as his reputation has been severely damaged among and with the Republican establishment, which is centered in the District of Columbia. The false publications alleged herein all occurred in this district and are continuing,” the suit reads, adding that the reports have “severely harmed” Arpaio’s prospects of election to the U.S. Senate in 2020.

The suit seeks “actual, compensatory, and punitive damages in excess of $300,500,000, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs, and any other relief that this Court may deem just and proper.”