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Ousted USDA Official Sues Over Video Posting

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Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department director of rural development in Georgia, has filed a lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart, operator of the website Big Government, for posting a video that in its edited form made it appear that Sherrod had discriminated against a white farmer on the basis of his race.

Sherrod was pressured to resign last July after the video was posted. But after after viewing the entire video of her remarks, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized and tried to rehire her for a civil rights post at USDA headquarters.

The New York Times reports that Breitbart was served with Sherrod's lawsuit at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Saturday. The suit alleges that his posting of the video damaged her reputation and prevented her from getting work.

Breitbart, the Times reported, said in a statement that he "categorically rejects the transparent effort to chill his constitutionally protected free speech."

(Hat tip: USA Today "On Deadline")

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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