Attorney Says Weekly Paper Defamed Her

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) – An attorney says the weekly “Westchester Guardian” defamed her in an article that claimed she had “sex with an inmate in jail” while she worked for the New York state attorney general’s office.

     Joan Marshall Cresap, an attorney and real estate broker with “an unblemished disciplinary record,” says a grievance committee dismissed all of defendant Douglas Higbee’s claims that she “had sex with an inmate in jail,” but the Guardian ran a letter from Higbee that treated the allegations as fact.
     The letter, which was addressed to the chief investigator of the New York Supreme Court disciplinary committee, appeared in an August 2008 column called “The Court Report.” The Court Report is written by defendant Richard Blassberg, editor of the Guardian, according to the complaint in Westchester County Court.
     Cresap says Higbee wrote that having sex with an incarcerated person is akin to rape, and that the attorney general’s office helped to cover up the “outrageous” incident by letting Cresap resign in 1997 rather than face disciplinary action.
     In Blassberg’s column, Cresap says, the “Guardian further falsely states that the allegations concerning plaintiff were ‘fully documented and acknowledged,'” and Blassberg criticized the New York judicial system for taking too long to resolve the complaint.
     Cresap says Blassberg never investigated whether Higbee’s claims were true, and printed the article “with the knowledge that the statements contained therein are false.” She demands at least $5 million for defamation.
     She is represented by Mitchell Baker with Baker Leshko & Saline.

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