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A judge on Monday threw out Sarah Palin's lawsuit accusing the New York Times of defamation by incorrectly linking her in an editorial.

Judge throws out Palin lawsuit against New York Times

Feb 14, 2022


A U.S. judge threw out Sarah Palin’s lawsuit accusing the New York Times of defaming the former Alaska governor by incorrectly linking her in an editorial to a mass murder. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said he will order the dismissal of Palin’s lawsuit but in an unusual twist will enter his order after the jury finishes its own deliberations.

The judge’s order effectively preempted a potential jury verdict to the contrary, in a case seen as a test of longstanding protections for American media. Palin had sued the newspaper and its former editorial page editor James Bennet, arguing that a 2017 editorial incorrectly linked her to a mass shooting six years earlier that wounded former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

It is rare for a major media outlet to defend its editorial practices in court, as the Times had to do in this case. Palin had sought unspecified monetary damages.

On the witness stand, Palin compared herself, a celebrated conservative politician with a national following, to the biblical underdog David against the Times’ Goliath, while accusing the newspaper of trying to “score political points.” Palin testified that the editorial left her feeling “powerless” and “mortified” and that the correction issued by the newspaper the morning after publication was accurate but insufficient and did not mention her by name. She maintained that the Times undermined her reputation by falsely linking her to a mass murder and by not being fast or thorough enough in correcting its error.

Palin, who no longer commands as much public attention as she once did, struggled under cross-examination to provide specific examples about how the editorial harmed her reputation and cost her opportunities.