Juneau, Alaska — A lawsuit against former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was struck down on Thursday by a federal judge. The suit, brought against Palin by activist Chip Thoma, alleged that the politician had attempted to silence Thoma when he complained about traffic around the governor’s mansion in 2009.
In throwing out the lawsuit, U.S District Judge Timothy Burgess ruled that Thoma had failed to produce sufficient evidence to support his claims. Palin’s request for summary judgment was granted, and her attorney, John Tiemessen, said that the case should now be dismissed, as no valid claims stand.
Thoma had sued Palin for “at least” $100,000. He had claimed that the politician had attempted to embarrass, discredit and silence him after his complaints about tour bus traffic around Palin’s Alaska mansion in the months following her failed 2008 vice presidential bid.
Thoma’s initial complaints were made in 2009, when he reported the traffic disturbances to a state agency and made signs and fliers about the traffic situation that he posted and handed out. Thoma claimed Palin and unidentified conspirators then began a campaign to silence him, “twisting” his words and “concocting complete fabrications.”
The lawsuit was partially based on a leaked draft manuscript from a former Palin aide, Frank Bailey. Bailey described in his book how Palin’s team “went into discrediting Chip overdrive” after the governor had expressed annoyance over complaints.
Yet Judge Burgess dismissed excerpts from the book, arguing they could not be considered in the motion for summary judgment as the passages were based on hearsay. He added that Thoma had only submitted one piece of documented evidence to support his case: his own affidavit. In his report on the case, Burgess flatly stated:
“The record is simply devoid of evidence concerning the alleged retaliation.”