Sarah Palin’s case against the New York Times ended arguments

Sarah Palin and the New York Times building

On the left, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) enters Manhattan federal court at 500 Pearl Street, where her case against the New York Times is taking place. The newspaper’s headquarters is on the right.

More than a week after it started, the former Governor of Alaska. Sarah Palin’s (R) defamation lawsuit against New York Times came to the conclusion of arguments on Friday, where lawyers for both sides appeared eager to bring down the political associations of the case.

“Politics doesn’t matter,” Palin’s lawyer Kenneth Turkel announced early in the summaries.

Turkel was referring to the possible New York grand jury’s deliberations on the tea-party politician’s case, but throughout his summary, he argued that the Gray Lady lied. clients because the editors are “liberal”.

“It can determine why things happen, why certain people are judged in certain ways,” he added, referring to politics.

Times lawyer David Axelrod noted that internal communications showed that the article had solicited explicit criticism of both sides of the political aisle, and he explicitly noted that full editor This is in stark contrast to Turkel’s theory that writers “hate” Palin.

“Read it,” said Axelrod. “Read the whole thing. Governor Palin’s involvement in the editorial was almost exclusively a footnote. “

He added that the editorial had the archived original that could be accessed hereending with “praise” Donald Trump. ”

“It’s About Press Freedom”

A rare defamation case against Times to reach a federal jury, Palin’s case about TimesThe four-year-old columnist “America’s Deadly Politics” can have profound implications for press freedom, whether she wins or loses at the trial court level.

“This is an extremely important case because it concerns press freedom and it is about the First Amendment,” Axelrod said.

Palin alleges that the newspaper smeared her by falsely claiming that she instigated the 2011 mass shooting by Jared Lee Loughnerwho killed six and wounded 13, including the Arizona Representative. Gabrielle Giffords (D).

Long before the editorial was published, Palin received a wave of criticism after the massacre because, months before, Sarah’s political action committee Sarah PAC had released a map with the goals in Giffords County and of 19 other Democrats. Loughner’s criminal proceedings never produced evidence that the killer knew the map.

In about 12 hours, Times The editorial asserted that “the link to the instigator was clear.” That line was inserted by the then head of the newspaper’s editorial department James Bennet into the more careful draft provided to him by Elizabeth Williamson. Others inside the newsroom, like columnists Ross Douthat, reported an error to Bennet. The editorial supplemented that language the next morning with a lengthy correction.

“That’s what this case is about: It’s about an honest mistake,” Axelrod said.

Under defamation laws, a public figure needs to show genuine malice, and that’s not enough to prove fault was made. That high standard, from the Supreme Court case Times sues Sullivangave the newspaper an undefeated record of fighting defamation lawsuits for more than half a century.

“In this Country, We Are Allowed to Have Our Opinions”

As she testified on Thursday, Palin claimed the editorial revived a particularly harrowing period in her life. She said she received death threat long before Times editorial for that false connection shortly after the shooting in Loughner. She said a number of threats targeted her 9-year-old daughter at the time Piperwho was the same age at the time as one of Loughner’s victims: Christina-Taylor Green.

That old controversy smoldered for more than half a decade until another gunman James Hodgkinson opened fire in a 2017 congressional baseball shooting, injuring Representative. Steve Scalise (R-La.) And others.

When word emerged that Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders haters supporter Donald Trumpthe Times The editorial board immediately began mulling over the link about the political overheat and violence. Its then editor James Bennet asked for examples of hate speech on the left, which he said he tends to associate with the right.

“The story of this story is set,” said Turkel. “It won’t be a gun control-only story.”

In opening remarks, Axelrod noted that the editorial struck down both Sanders and Palin, and he said that proves: “This is not a political business.”

For Turkel, it presents a different urge.

“Let’s play the political scoreboard,” he thundered. “The left side kills one, the right side kills one. […] It’s absurd.”

Since the experiment began, some news outlets have called the editorial a calculation of what some media critics have described as “both sides“Framed. The piece has been carefully crafted across the political realm and ends with a salutation of Trump’s statement after Scalise’s remarks: “We may have our differences, but we do well in the It’s a time like this to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.”

The Times attorneys counter that, in the United States, Palin has the right to disagree with the approach of the newsroom.

“You may disagree with this theory, but it’s not defamation,” Axelrod told the jury. “In this country, we’re allowed to have our own opinions, and we debate those opinions.”

If the jury finds Times liable, they will have to determine what Palin deserves. Senior Judge of the United States Jed Rakoff denied her punitive damages claim on Thursday, finding that the evidence of her malice towards Bennet was “really quite modest”.

Axelrod goes further: Evidence that Palin was damaged by the editorial is “zip, zero, zilch, none.”

Palin admitted that she continued to give paid speeches, appear on television, and continue her election campaign after the editorial ran. The Times Their attorney noted that it was they who received most of the criticism for the editorial, not hers.

(Palin photo via Spencer Platt / Getty Images; NYT building photo via JOHANNES EISELE / AFP via Getty Images)

Is there a trick we should know? Sarah Palin’s case against the New York Times ended arguments

James Brien

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