Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is receiving legal help from the state in a civil lawsuit.
Assistant Attorney General Dale House said Palin asked the state to help defend her against the lawsuit by activist Chip Thoma.
The claims made against Palin date to when she was governor, and House said Wednesday that it's typical for the state to get involved if the person is being sued largely because of the title they held or because of something they did in the course of their official duties. He said there are exceptions, including for criminal cases.
House said the state will pay for his participation but not for Palin's personal lawyer, John Tiemessen, who will be co-counsel.
Thoma is suing Palin for at least $100,000, claiming that she undertook a campaign to "punish, embarrass, discredit and silence" him while governor after he complained about tour bus traffic on the windy, narrow streets around the governor's mansion.
Traffic increased after Palin returned to Juneau following her failed 2008 GOP vice presidential campaign. According to Thoma's lawsuit, which was amended in May, he complained about the traffic to a state agency and made signs and fliers about the traffic situation that he posted and handed out.
The lawsuit alleges Palin and unidentified conspirators retaliated, in some cases "twisting" his words and in others, "concocting complete fabrications" to silence him and others whom Palin perceived as speaking out against her.
The initial lawsuit was based in part on a leaked draft manuscript of an aide of Palin's at that time, Frank Bailey. Bailey's book, which has since been published, claims Palin aides "went into discrediting Chip overdrive," after Palin expressed frustration with complaints that she took as an attack on her family being in Juneau. Palin had taken heat during her tenure for not staying in Juneau, the state capital, full-time.
Thoma said he didn't mind the state getting involved because during discovery, he could get access to any emails that Palin or her aides sent on the issue. The state "certainly has them all," he said.
Tiemessen has called the lawsuit frivolous and said it was filed "merely for the purpose of harassment." House said he is not aware of any evidence of defamation by Palin or others at her request.
The case is pending in federal court. No trial date has been set. Thoma said there's been no talk of settlement.
Another activist, Andree McLeod, who's filed a number of ethics complaints against Palin, wrote the attorney general Wednesday, asking for any documentation that exists "wherein private citizen, multi-millionaire Sarah Palin asks for publicly-funded legal help in this lawsuit between 2 private individuals."