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Sarah Palin’s defamation case against New York Times heads to trial

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 8/28/2020 Stephen Rex Brown
Sarah Palin wearing a microphone: In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. An appeals court has revived a defamation lawsuit Palin brought against The New York Times. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored the lawsuit Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, saying Palin must be allowed to collect evidence to support her claims. Still, it said Palin’s burden of proof was high to show the Times acted with actual malice when it published an editorial titled “America’s Lethal Politics” in 2017. © Brynn Anderson In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. An appeals court has revived a defamation lawsuit Palin brought against The New York Times. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored the lawsuit Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, saying Palin must be allowed to collect evidence to support her claims. Still, it said Palin’s burden of proof was high to show the Times acted with actual malice when it published an editorial titled “America’s Lethal Politics” in 2017.

Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the New York Times over an inaccurate editorial are headed to trial.

Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rakoff wrote in a 36-page decision that the former Alaska governor’s allegations against former Opinion Editor James Bennet and the paper were best left to a jury. The judge scheduled a trial for Feb. 1, “pandemic permitting.”

Palin claims Bennet acted with “actual malice” by writing an editorial, which was corrected, linking advertisements by her political action committee to the 2011 attempted assassination of former Rep. Gabby Giffords.

“Taken in the light most favorable to (Palin), the evidence shows Bennet came up with an angle for the editorial, ignored the articles brought to his attention that were inconsistent with his angle, disregarded the…research he commissioned, and ultimately made the point he set out to make in reckless disregard of the truth,” Rakoff wrote.

The judge previously ruled Bennet’s mistake in June 2017 did not meet the critical legal standard of “malice.” But the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Rakoff’s decision, allowing the case to proceed.

“We’re disappointed in the ruling but are confident we will prevail at trial when a jury hears the facts,” a Times spokeswoman said.

Palin’s attorneys did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

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