Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the NY Times has been thrown out by a federal judge in New York City. The editorial at the center of the lawsuit was published this past June after a gunman opened fire on a baseball field where members of congress were practicing for an upcoming game.
The Times editorial titled “America’s Lethal Politics” appeared to link a Sarah Palin PAC to “political incitement” over a map it had put out several years ago with the faces of Democratic lawmakers with crosshairs over their faces. This was around the time Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head in a mall parking lot in Arizona by crazed gunman, Jared Loughner.
After receiving complaints from readers, the Times issued a correction the following day, deleting the references to political incitement and noting that the crosshairs in the material were over congressional districts, and not individual lawmakers. However, Ms. Palin wasn’t satisfied and filed a lawsuit for defamation of character.
Defamation of Character.
Palin’s lawyers argued that the NY Times defamed their client and attacked her in order to boost sales. They also argued that it was never found that Jared Loughner had any political motivation when he went on his shooting spree, killing 6 people and injuring 13, including Rep. Giffords.
Earlier this week, Judge Jed Rakoff threw out Ms. Plain’s case saying it failed to “adequately allege actual malice.”
He went on to say, “what we have here is an editorial, written and rewritten rapidly in order to voice an opinion on an immediate event of importance, in which are included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs. Palin that are very rapidly corrected. Negligence this may be; but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not.”
The NY times released a statement saying the following:
“Judge Rakoff’s opinion is an important reminder of the country’s deep commitment to a free press and the important role that journalism plays in our democracy.”
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on Facebook, Twitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groups, Google+ Circles. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.