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Sarah Palin loses her libel suit against the New York Times

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin answers questions from the media as she arrives in federal court in Manhattan on February 15, 2022 in New York City.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

A federal jury in New York found on Tuesday that The New York Times did not defame Sarah Palin with an op-ed that linked a political action committee of the former Republican vice-presidential nominee to the 2011 shooting of the former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona.

The jury’s verdict came a day after the judge hearing the case said he would dismiss Palin’s civil suit against the Times.

But Judge Jed Rakoff, in making the decision on Monday, said he would allow the jury to continue their then-ongoing deliberations in the case and reach a verdict.

Rakoff, saying he expected Palin to appeal his dismissal, said an appeals court “would greatly benefit from knowing how the jury would decide.”

Rakoff’s decision was based on his conclusion that the former Alaska governor had failed to provide sufficient evidence that his reputation had been tarnished by the op-ed published in 2017.

Palin faced a high bar to prove her case due to a 1964 Supreme Court ruling involving The New York Times, which requires public figures to show there was “actual malice” by the from media companies to support a defamation claim.

Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha, in an emailed statement Tuesday, said, “The New York Times welcomes today’s verdict.”

“It is a reaffirmation of a fundamental tenet of American law: public figures should not be allowed to use libel suits to punish or intimidate news organizations that promptly commit, acknowledge and correct unintentional errors,” said the spokesperson.

“It is gratifying that the jury and the judge understood the legal protections of the media and our vital role in American society. We would also like to thank the jurors for their careful deliberations in a difficult area of ​​the law.”

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