Former Arizona sheriff and failed Senate candidate Joe Arpaio has filed a lawsuit against The New York Times and one of its opinion writers over a piece published in August that mocked Arpaio’s political and criminal record and called him a “truly sadistic man.”
In the complaint, flagged by Politico, Arpaio acknowledges the article is an “opinion piece,” but said it contains “several false, defamatory factual assertions” about Arpaio’s storied career discriminating against Latino citizens in Maricopa County, Arizona when he was sheriff. Arpaio is seeking $147.5 million in damages and has requested a jury trial.
The suit, filed Tuesday, alleges that writer Michelle Cottle purposely made malicious statements that would damage Arpaio’s chances of running for the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) seat in 2020. Arpaio recently ran for Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) seat, but lost in the primaries. The suit argues the writer’s piece was defamatory, it interfered with Arpaio’s “prospective business relationship with the National Republican Committee” and other donors and it painted him in a “false light.”
A spokesperson for the Times told Politico that the newspaper “intend(s) to vigorously defend against the lawsuit.”
Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court in July 2017 for professional misconduct associated with his practice of targeting Latino people in his community. As an early Trump supporter, Arpaio was pardoned by the President in August 2017 and is currently entangled in a legal battle over whether his criminal record should be wiped.
Read the complaint below: