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Judge to dismiss Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against New York Times

A federal judge said Monday he will dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over a 2017 editorial. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
1 of 2 | A federal judge said Monday he will dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over a 2017 editorial. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New York said Monday he will dismiss a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times filed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff said Palin's lawyers did not prove the publication knowingly wrote false or reckless information in the 2017 editorial at the center of the lawsuit.

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Palin testified last week that the editorial in question was "devastating" when it was published.

The former vice presidential candidate sued the Times over a 2017 editorial that falsely suggested there was a link between her political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting spree that left former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. injured, and six other people dead.

Rakoff said Palin's lawyers did not meet the ​​legal threshold required to prove defamation. He said he will let the jury continue to deliberate.

If it returns a verdict that finds the Times did not defame Palin, Rakoff would then accept the verdict. If the jury comes to the opposite conclusion, the judge would then set aside that verdict and enter his own in favor of the publication.

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Rakoff said he believes Palin will appeal the verdict.

"Ms. Palin was subjected to an ultimately unsupported and very serious allegation that Mr. Bennet chose to revisit seven years or so after the underlying events," Rakoff said.

"So I don't mean to be understood. I think this is an example of very unfortunate editorializing on the part of the Times."

The Times corrected the information in the editorial the morning after it was published. It has not lost a defamation case in a U.S. courtroom in at least 50 years.

The case has faced multiple delays, including after Palin tested positive for COVID-19 in January.

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