Washington lobbyist Vicki L. Iseman has filed a $27 million defamation lawsuit against The New York Times for a February article about Iseman and her relationship with Sen. John McCain.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond on Tuesday, alleges the article falsely communicated that Iseman and McCain had an illicit “romantic” relationship in 1999 when he was chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and she was a lobbyist representing clients before Congress…
The 36-page complaint charges that the story implies an “unprofessional relationship” between Iseman and McCain.
Both Iseman and McCain denied any improper relationship. However, the public viewed the story as being about an affair, according to the suit, which cites the post-publication remarks of 10 different commentators across the political spectrum. In each case, their comments about the story assumed it was about an alleged affair, the lawyers noted.
The Times’ own public editor, Clark Hoyt, published what Allen called a “blistering attack” on the Times’ decision to publish the original Iseman article….
The piece was published at the height of the primary season last winter, and, the suit states, the defendants knew that it would “reverberate around the world.”
“In their attack on Senator McCain, the [defendants] were willing to sacrifice Ms. Iseman as acceptable collateral damage, recklessly indifferent to the avalanche of scorn, derision and ridicule Ms. Iseman would suffer,” the suit charges.
Iseman waited to file the suit until after the presidential election, in an effort to avoid influencing its outcome, her lawyers said.