Washington lobbyist Vicki Iseman sued the New York Times for $27 million today. In a story the paper ran earlier this year, Iseman was linked romantically with presidential candidate John McCain in 1999.
Iseman's defamatory complaint has two bullet points--that the Times story communicated that she had exploited a relationship with McCain "to obtain favorable legislative outcomes for her clients"--a violation of professional and ethical norms. The second point is the paper's portrayal of the nature of her relationship with McCain (as "illicit and inappropriate") while she conducted business for clients before the committee chaired by McCain.
The TImes says: "We fully stand behind the article. We continue to believe it to be true and accurate, and that we will prevail. As we said at the time, it was an important piece that raised questions about a presidential contender and the perception that he had been engaged in conflicts of interest."
Calderone reports Iseman's "said to have suffered mentally, emotionally, and in her health." He also notes that reporters at the Times "worked on the controversial lobbyist piece for months, and it was held up several times in the editorial process."