February 14, 2011 3:50 pm ET by Matt Gertz
As we noted yesterday, former U.S. Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod has filed a lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart contending that he damaged her reputation last year by posting a deceptively edited video that he claimed indicated she was a racist. You can view Sherrod's complaint, filed Friday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, HERE.
Sherrod is represented by Thomas Yannucci of the Washington, D.C., firm Kirkland & Ellis. Yannucci previously handled Chiquita's successful defamation lawsuit against The Cincinnati Enquirer and Gannett Company Inc., which resulted in a $14 million settlement.
Thus far, Breitbart has responded with conspiratorial antics to this very serious, detailed complaint. According to him, Sherrod is not suing him because of what he did to her, but as an attempt to shut him up and bring to a halt his "investigat[ion]" of the Pigford class action lawsuit.
On Saturday, Breitbart's BigGovernment.com posted a press release under the headline, "Andrew Breitbart on Pigford Lawsuit: 'Bring It On.'" The release does not mention Sherrod by name, instead referring to her as "a central figure in the Pigford 'back-door' reparations case," which the release claims "constitutes one of the biggest cases of corruption and politically-motivated fraud in the history of the United States."
In the release, Breitbart claims Sherrod's lawsuit was filed in response to Breitbart's February 10 press conference. He also asserts that the lawsuit is "obviously" being funded by "the institutional Left."
In the months since Breitbart's attack on Sherrod as a racist fizzled, he has engaged in a constant, conspiratorial smear campaign regarding her role in the Pigford lawsuit. Breitbart has sought to obviate his responsibility for her firing by claiming that the real reason she was asked to resign was that the Obama administration wanted to keep anyone from finding out about the supposed widespread fraud in the settlement.
Breitbart's Sherrod firing conspiracy ignores contemporaneous administration emails obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Those emails do not reference Pigford, instead making clear that Sherrod was fired because of the administration's misinterpretation -- based on Breitbart's video -- of Sherrod's comments.
Breitbart just won't take responsibility for his actions. It remains to be seen whether this lawsuit will eventually compel him to do so.
Click to view image: 'Not so Breitbart'
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