DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Sex

NY Times Sued Over McCain Affair Story

Lobbyist: Paper 'brazenly published' piece about non-existent tryst

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NY Times Sued Over McCain Affair Story

DECEMBER 30--A Washington lobbyist charges that The New York Times smeared her in a February 2008 story that she claims gave readers the false impression that she engaged in an 'illicit and inappropriate romantic relationship' with Senator John McCain.

The lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, today sued the Times and several of its reporters and editors in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia. The defamation complaint, excerpts of which you'll find here, seeks $27 million in damages. According to Iseman, 41, the Times story claimed that she engaged in 'an improper romantic relationship with Senator McCain, a married man, from which she gained advantage for her professional clients.'

In fact, Iseman charges, her relationship with McCain was 'entirely professional, ethical, and appropriate,' and not romantic. The Times piece has been 'powerfully damaging' to her reputation and 'destroyed the heart and soul of [her] professional identity and sense of personal self-worth.'

Iseman, pictured above, alleges that while a Times investigation turned up no 'credible evidence' of a romantic relationship between her and McCain, the newspaper published its story in the face of 'pressure' from the Drudge Report and The New Republic, which both became aware of reported internal 'resistance' at the Times to the publication of the McCain-Iseman story.

In seeking to avoid being scooped on their own story, the Times committed 'an act of callous indifference to human decency and human dignity,' Iseman contends. (22 pages)