Alcalde & Fay partner Vicki Iseman has settled her $27 million defamation lawsuit against the New York Times and several of its reporters, reports newspaper trade publication Editor & Publisher. Iseman, a Washington lobbyist, sued the Times over a story published last February during the presidential campaign season that she claimed inaccurately depicted her as having an affair with Republican candidate Sen. John McCain.
Under the settlement terms, the Times did not agree to a retraction of the story or any payment to Iseman. To reach the resolution, Iseman accepted the explanation offered by the NYT that will run in tomorrow’s paper as a note to readers. The note contends that the story in question was about “Sen. John McCain and his record as an ethics reformer who was at times blind to potential conflicts of interest…The article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Sen. McCain.”
Iseman responded to Legal Times’ request for comment on the matter by e-mailing a copy of the note, as well as a joint statement from her and the NYT, and a separate statement only from her. There seems to be some disconnect between the joint statement and Iseman’s statement over what, exactly, constitutes a retraction.
The joint statement reads, “The Times has maintained that the article was an accurate, important examination of the record of Mr. McCain.” But in her own statement, Iseman says, “I am pleased that The New York Times on behalf of its reporters, editors and company has issued a retraction and clarification.”
Iseman’s statement continues, “The New York Times, its reporters and editors, should and must be held accountable when their investigations, reporting, and written words migrate from legitimate to illegitimate with the affect of destroying human beings based on innuendos, rumors and the reckless attributions of “anonymous sources.””
Iseman filed the lawsuit in December in federal court in Richmond, Va.
Iseman e-mailed the following statement to Legal Times: "I am bound by confidentiality about the process, but the New York Times statement that there was not an apology to me is a falsehood."