PHOENIX — Is a wrong word or phrase worth $300 million? Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to think it may be, filing a new defamation lawsuit against three media companies and other individuals.
The lawsuit seeks $300,500,000 from CNN, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone Magazine and individuals such as CNN president Jeff Zucker.
Earlier this year, both CNN and Rollingstone said Arpaio was a "convicted felon" while The Huffington Post said the former sheriff was sent to prison.
Joe Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court, however, the crime is a misdemeanor. Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump before spending any time in prison.
"This is accusing me, in the public, of something that's not true." Joe Arpaio said.
As of this writing, The Huffington Post and Rolling Stone magazine have corrected their articles. The CNN allegation happened on air, and 12 News was unable to find the original clip online.
Arpaio said the stories were "destroying my reputation."
"Those are certainly mistakes, but the problem for him is that he is a public official. He would have to show not only that the story is wrong, but that the reporters knew it was wrong when they wrote the story."
Dan Barr, an attorney for Perkine Coie who specializes in First Amendment rights, said, "Most people have made up their minds on Joe Arpaio ... nothing said in a CNN or Rolling Stone story saying he committed a felony as compared to a misdemeanor is going to change that."
Arpaio said ignorance should not be an excuse, saying, "They should know that with all of this publicity surrounding this contempt of court."
In the lawsuit, the document states Joe Arpaio intends to run in 2020 for the U.S. Senate once again.