Judge Rejects Sarah Palin’s Second Effort In Defamation Case Against ‘N.Y. Times’

A judge rejected former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin‘s (R) attempt on Tuesday to resurrect a libel case against the New York Times.

“In a defamation case brought by a public figure like Sarah Palin, a mistake is not enough to win if it was not motivated by actual malice,” U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff  wrote in his opinion. “And the striking thing about the trial here was that Palin, for all her earlier assertions, could not, in the end, introduce even a speck of such evidence.”

Palin sued the paper and former editorial page editor James Bennett for publishing an article that incorrectly linked the rhetoric of her political action committee to the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Arizona) and the murder of six others. The Times corrected its statement two days later, but Palin contends the article hurt her reputation and career.

Rakoff said that Palin’s effort to open a new trial failed because she was unable to present evidence to prove that the Times or Rakoff exhibited actual malice under the landmark 1964 New York Times vs. Sullivan case. The case established the precedent for public figures suing for defamation, requiring that there is clear evidence that the publication knew the claim they were making was false or showed “reckless disregard for the truth.”


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“We are pleased to see the court’s decision, and remain confident that the judge and jury decided the case fairly and correctly,” Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesperson for the Times said in a statement on Wednesday.

Rakoff announced in February that he would dismiss the case. The jury ruled in favor of the Times the next day.

Rose Carter

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