Jury In Sarah Palin Trial Finds ‘New York Times’ Not Guilty Of Defaming Her
A day after a judge tossed out Sarah Palin‘s case against the New York Times, the jury made the same decision.
The 9-person jury, made up of five women and four men, heard seven days of trial and had been deliberating since Friday night.
They were unaware that Judge Jed Rakoff had already ruled that Palin and her team did not adequately prove “actual malice.” After his decision was announced to the public yesterday, he said he would wait for the jury’s verdict, then toss the case.
The precedent for public figures who sue for defamation was set by the 1964 New York Times vs. Sullivan case. The case required that the public figure must show evidence that the publication knew the claim they were making was false or showed “reckless disregard” for the truth.
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“The New York Times welcomes today’s verdict. It is a reaffirmation of a fundamental tenet of American law: public figures should not be permitted to use libel suits to punish or intimidate news organizations that make, acknowledge and swiftly correct unintentional errors,” said New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is gratifying that the jury and the judge understood the legal protections for the news media and our vital role in American society. We also want to thank the jurors for their careful deliberations in a difficult area of the law.”
It is very challenging for a public figure to win a defamation case. Palin originally sued the paper and former editorial page editor James Bennet in 2017 for incorrectly linking the rhetoric of her political action committee to the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Arizona) and the murder of six others. The Times corrected the statement two days later.
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