Shirley Sherrod, the self-described one-time racialist who was caught on video admitting that she initially denied federal benefits to a white farmer because of his race, is seeking to add the widow of Andrew Breitbart to her lawsuit against the deceased new-media pioneer.
In a 2010 speech before an NAACP awards dinner, Sherrod admitted that she was initially unwilling to help a white farmer because he was white. Sherrod said she did not give him the help she could have, and instead took him to a white lawyer. She called the white lawyer “one of his own kind.”
Andrew Breitbart’s website posted a two minute clip of Sherrod’s admission. In the video, Sherrod’s story of refusing benefits to a white farmer is met by laughter and statements of “that’s right” from those in the NAACP audience. Later in the video, Sherrod reversed her position and provided a story of redemption.
No applause or laughter came from the NAACP audience at the conclusion of Sherrod’s story when she described how she realized race was not an appropriate factor in her behavior.
After Andrew Breitbart posted a video clip of Sherrod’s statement, she resigned from the United States Department of Agriculture.
In February 2011, Kirkland & Ellis sued Andrew Breitbart and others for defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In February 2012, after weathering the pressure of the lawsuit for a year, Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure. He left a wife and four children.
One might have thought that would be the end of the matter.
Not content to have hounded Andrew for a year before he died, Shirley Sherrod’s lawyers are now seeking to add Susie Bean Breitbart as a defendant to Sherrod’s lawsuit. Andrew’s widow has been described as the nicest woman in Los Angeles. She had nothing to do with Andrew’s work at Breirtbart.com, save for perhaps putting up with his endless hours on the phone. She certainly had nothing to do with Shirley Sherrod.
A decent person might have ended the whole matter after Andrew’s death.
But Sherrod’s lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis filed this pleading seeking to drag Susie into the lawsuit. They are trying to bore into her own personal estate, the estate which will be used to raise her four fatherless children. The pleading coldly notes:
Plaintiff’s lawsuit against Mr. Breitbart was timely filed, survives his death, and may be continued against his successor. See D.C. Code § 12-101; . . . .(“Except as provided in Sections 11446, 13552, 13553, and 13554, upon the death of a married person, the surviving spouse is personally liable for the debts of the deceased spouse chargeable against the property described in Section 13551 to the extent provided in Section 13551.
Given Kirkland’s exceedingly high hourly rates, one can safely assume that Sherrod’s lawsuit is probably being bankrolled by a third party, or by Kirkland & Ellis itself.
Sherrod should disclose who is paying for the high-dollar litigation against a conservative news outlet. If it is Sherrod, she should say so. Or, is it other clients of Kirkland & Ellis, such as Starwood Hotels, Walgreens or Avis/Budget Car Rentals, through their fees in other matters subsidizing Kirkland lawyers working for Sherrod pro bono? Perhaps it is an unseen third party? Either way, if it isn’t Sherrod paying the bills, she ought to disclose to the media who is paying them.
If nothing else, the media ought to start asking.
Better yet, perhaps Sherrod should go back to being an unrepentant racialist. It would be more respectable than her current endeavor of hounding widows.