Former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one of the best known law enforcement officers in the United States. A large part of his notoriety is, however, due to a conviction for contempt of court.
During the 2016 election, the former sheriff was an important surrogate for Donald Trump. For his support, Trump rewarded Arpaio with a Presidential pardon. Some news outlets, including CNN and Rolling Stone, still referred to him as a convicted felon. Arpaio sued the outlets for $300 million and now a judge has thrown that lawsuit out.
The Judge in the suit, Royce Lamberth explained why the suit didn’t go through. He wrote, “The burden of putting forward articulate facts of actual malice is a difficult one to meet, especially when discovery is not yet available to the parties. But without this safeguard, the threat of lawsuits would chill our precious First Amendment rights to freely engage in political discourse.”
Arpaio’s lawyer, Larry Klayman, felt the suit could go forward with a few tweaks. He told reporters, “Judge Lamberth is one of the few courageous and intellectually honest judges on the federal bench today. I am reasonably certain, based on the law, that he will allow Sheriff Arpaio to amend the complaint, in order that this case can move forward to discovery and a jury trial.”
This isn’t the only time that Arpaio has recently been in the news. The lawman, who lost his 2016 election bid to Paul Penzone, has announced his intention to again run for the position.