Arwa Damon, 36, the International Beirut-based Senior International Correspondent working for CNN was named in a $2 million lawsuit along with her employer, CNN, for biting two EMT workers when the pair were trying to treat her at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, on July 19. Plaintiffs Charles Simons and Tracy Lamar filed their lawsuit on Aug. 4 in New York Supreme Court, according to Yahoo! News. The lawsuit claims that Damon was “seriously intoxicated” and “unruly and violent,” and that Damon bit both of the EMTs as they tried to see to her medical assistance.
The day following the biting incident, Damon allegedly sent a letter of apology to the two emergency medical workers and the staff at the U.S. Embassy. The letter was obtained and published by The New York Post’s Page Six, although Damon being the author of that letter, sent via e-mail, cannot be verified. In the letter, Damon apologized for her behavior and said that a combination of exhaustion, too much alcohol and too little food in her stomach was to blame.
In addition to suing Damon, the plaintiffs are also suing cable network CNN because the organization “continued to employ the Emmy-award winning journalist despite her ‘history of becoming intoxicated and then abusive,”’ according to The Daily News. The lawyer for the plaintiffs, David Jaroslawicz, said that on the day of the biting incident, Damon was “totally out of control” and “She was biting them both pretty furiously. She has good teeth.” Jaroslawicz added that “Eventually they subdued her.”
Regarding Damon’s letter of apology to the U.S. Embassy staff, Jaroslawicz is planning on using it as Exhibit 1 in his plaintiffs’ lawsuit. “Legally, this is an admission,” Jaroslawicz said. A spokesperson for CNN said that “We are aware of the lawsuit and are looking into it.”
The U.S. State Department will be conducting an internal investigation into Damon’s alleged biting incident. The Department of Justice is also launching its own investigation.
Judging from her alleged apology letter, Damon doesn’t seem to have a clear recollection of the events that transpired at the Embassy on July 19. Portions of the e-mail Damon is purported to have sent as a means of apologizing for her behavior in Iraq appear below:
“It’s been an extremely stressful time, I was exhausted, I had not had proper food all day and clearly miscalculated how my body would handle the alcohol consumed … Needless to say, I am utterly mortified and take full responsibility for my actions, which are inexcusable.”
“I am being filled in on the details of my behavior. I am beyond embarrassed. My actions and words were entirely out of my character, and I hope that everyone can at some point forgive me.”
“So once again, I am apologizing and extending my thanks to all that were involved in ensuring that I am, thankfully, in the end, taken care of and physically at least OK. Everyone was extremely professional and courteous in the face of my unjustified behavior.”