Jury Rejects Sarah Palin’s Defamation Case Against The New York Times

A Manhattan federal jury on Feb. 15 rejected former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against the New York Times.

In a unanimous verdict, the nine-person jury concluded that the newspaper was “not liable” for a 2017 editorial that Palin claimed unfairly linked her to a mass shooting six years earlier and damaged her reputation.

The jury reached its verdict a day after Judge Jed Rakoff for the Southern District of New York ruled that Palin’s attorneys did not prove that the newspaper and its former editorial page editor James Bennet had operated with “actual malice,” a key element in the case.

“The law here sets a very high standard. The court finds that that standard has not been met,” Rakoff said on Feb. 14.

New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said that the newspaper welcomes the verdict.

“It is a reaffirmation of a fundamental tenet of American law: public figures should not be permitted to use libel suits to punish or intimidate news organizations that make, acknowledge and swiftly correct unintentional errors,” Ha said in a statement after the Feb. 15 verdict.

“It is gratifying that the jury and the judge understood the legal protections for the news media,” Ha further said.

Meanwhile, Palin’s attorney Kenneth Turkel said he was “disappointed” with the verdict.

Turkel added that he and his team will “evaluate all our options for appeal.”

Palin sued the New York Times and Bennet in 2017 after they published an editorial bearing the headline, “America’s Lethal Politics,” that incorrectly linked her to a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona that killed six people and injured former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

The New York Times quickly published a correction and Bennet issued an apology.

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