Ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio is suing CNN and two other media outlets for $300 million because they called him a “convicted felon.”
But really, it’s an easy mistake to make. Lots of people have made it, and not just the folks he’s suing.
Arpaio’s “felony” conviction is fake news, sure. The infamous Arizona politician, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate, finishing last place in August’s Republican primary, was convicted of misdemeanor contempt of court. Arizona political observers will recall that Arpaio failed to comply with a federal court order intended to stop him and the sheriff’s office from discriminating against Latino suspects. That led to his criminal conviction, which was then infamously overturned by President Donald Trump’s pardon.
Yet the former sheriff of Maricopa County made a name for himself during his 24 years in office in part by abusing the rights of jail inmates and undocumented immigrants, so the idea of a felony conviction doesn’t seem outlandish, by any stretch.
The lawsuit filed December 10 in U.S. District Court accuses CNN, Huffington Post, and Rolling Stone of defamation for making the error.
Who else besides these media outlets upgraded his conviction to a felony? Here’s a short list, in case Arpaio wants to expand the number of defendants in his sure-to-fail lawsuit:
The late U.S. Senator John McCain
“That isn’t terribly surprising, given (Trump’s) insulting references to unauthorized immigrants and the hard positions the state adopted in recent years to punish and apprehend them, exacerbated by the offensive statements and policies of Maricopa County’s notorious former sheriff, convicted felon Joe Arpaio.” — from McCain’s final book, “The Restless Wave.”
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
“Joe Arpaio is a convicted felon who openly promoted racial profiling and discrimination against American citizens who are Latina and Latino.”
The Democratic Party
“The Trump-Pence administration should focus on offering real solutions to America’s families, not touting a tax scam that will harm working families, and certainly not glorifying convicted felon Arpaio, whose harmful policies are fueled by hateful rhetoric.”
The Daily Kos
“AZ-Sen: Sen. Kamala Harris (D. CA) Refuses To Let Convicted Felon Joe Arpaio (R) Become A Senator”
“Convicted felon Joe Arpaio listens intently to vile racist Donald Trump”
People shouting at Arpaio at the State Capitol
“At a news conference outside the Arizona State Capitol, a handful of people shouted at Arpaio, saying he’s a convicted felon, and he isn’t good for America.”
“Now, Arpaio, a convicted felon, has the green light and the opportunity to run for the Senate, putting his hat in the ring for the August Republican primary in Arizona.”
“But Vice President (Mike) Pence did much more than that. He gave a big wet kiss to disgraced convicted felon, crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio, to whom fellow Birther conspiracy theorist Donald Trump gave his first pardon as president in order to demonstrate just how far he was willing to go to obstruct justice and to protect his circle of sycophant supporters.”
In Arizona, many convicted felons can’t vote because their voting rights have been stripped away. Now convicted felon Joe Arpaio wants to become their United States Senator. https://t.co/FHF9fkvsko
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) January 9, 2018
“Arpaio disregarded a judge’s order and was convicted of felony contempt of court.”
“Many expected Trump to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of felony contempt of court.”
Blue State Daily
Convicted Felon Joe Arpaio Says Trump Is An American ‘Hero,’ Not John McCain.
Renato Mariotti, former Illinois federal prosecutor
“In Arizona, many convicted felons can’t vote because their voting rights have been stripped away. Now convicted felon Joe Arpaio wants to become their United States Senator.”
One last thing to keep straight: Arpaio said he definitely would accept a blowjob from Trump, but the president gave him a pardon.