Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against the New York Times is to be thrown out, as the judge presiding over the case believes her legal team failed to produce adequate evidence supporting their claims, reported Politico.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said on Monday that he intends to order the dismissal of Palin’s lawsuit and that he will wait to enter his order until after the jury concludes its deliberations.
Rakoff indicated that he expects Palin to appeal his ruling and that the appeals court “would greatly benefit from knowing how the jury would decide it,” so he will wait for the jury to reach a verdict before he dismisses the case.
The judge said in his ruling, per Politico, that Palin’s attorneys “failed to elicit enough evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee had met the ‘actual malice’ standard the Supreme Court established for libel suits against public figures in the landmark 1964 ruling New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.”
Rakoff affirmed that it was not his role to revisit the standard established in Times v. Sullivan.
He said, “The Supreme Court made that balance and set a very high standard, and I don’t think that standard has been realized by plaintiff with respect to at least one aspect of the actual malice requirement.”
Continuing, he said, “I don’t think a reasonable juror could conclude that [the New York Times] either knew the statements were false or that he thought the statements were false and he recklessly disregarded that high probability.”
In recent years, however, members of the Supreme Court — notably Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch — have criticized the precedent established in Times v. Sullivan.
Palin’s lawsuit stems from a 2017 editorial in the New York Times in which the author linked a 2011 graphic sponsored by the former governor’s political action committee to a mass shooting.
The graphic was a map that superimposed crosshairs on the congressional districts of Democrats who supported the Affordable Care Act and were politically vulnerable.
The same year the graphic was circulated, there was a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona where several people including Rep. Gabby Giffords were severely injured.
The editorial that inspired Palin’s lawsuit cited Palin’s graphic as an example of right-wing political speech that incited violence.
Palin is represented by the attorneys who advocated for professional wrestler Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against the gossip blog Gawker.