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Jury rules against Sarah Palin in dismissed libel suit

Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2022. 4:13 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Despite a judge having already ruled to throw out a libel lawsuit filed against the New York Times by former Alaska governor and vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin, a jury has decided in the case, actually agreeing with the judge, according to the BBC.

Palin, who claimed the newspaper defamed her by linking her to a 2011 shooting that left people dead and a US representative wounded, plans to appeal.

She originally filed her lawsuit against the newspaper in 2017, arguing her reputation was damaged by an opinion piece – written by its editorial board – which said her political rhetoric helped incite the 2011 shooting in Arizona that severely wounded US Representative Gabby Giffords and killed six other people.

The Times piece also said Palin’s political action committee had circulated a map of electoral districts that put Giffords and 19 other Democrats under “stylised crosshairs”. The newspaper later corrected the editorial and conceded the wording used in it was flawed.

Palin in witness testimony claimed the paper was trying to score political points and that its correction was insufficient and did not even mention her by name. But District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled for dismissal on the basis that the case was not proven that the newspaper was aware the information was false or that it acted recklessly by publishing it.

Judge Rakoff said that with an appeal from Palin’s legal team likely, an appeals court “would greatly benefit from knowing how the jury would decide it”.

Palin wanted to potentially challenge New York Times v Sullivan, a 1964 Supreme Court case that establishes how much “actual malice” a public figure needs to prove defamation legally.

 

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