A New York judge announced Monday that he will dismiss the defamation suit brought against The New York Times (New York Times) by former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a case that has been scrutinized by free speech and press advocates.
A jury in a Manhattan civil court has been deliberating since Friday in the case that has pitted the former glory of the conservative Tea Party against one of the biggest media outlets on the planet since 2017.
According to several American newspapers – The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal – who have been following this defamation lawsuit closely for a week, Judge Jed Rakoff announced that he would reject Ms. Palin’s request, even before the jury was over. its deliberations and judgments.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who was handpicked by Republican presidential candidate John McCain in 2008, was dismissed in the first trial in August 2017 by a New York judge who found that the offense of defamation by the New York Times was not incorporated.
The politician resumed it.
It all began with a June 2017 editorial in the New York Times denouncing an attack by a lunatic who had shot a Republican elect playing baseball near Washington. The newspaper at the time linked another shooting, in 2011, of an elected Arizona Democrat, Gabrielle Giffords, to an announcement from a committee supporting Sarah Palin, in which the Giffords constituency was identified with a line-of-sight sign.
The next day, the New York Times corrected its editorial and admitted that there was no evidence that the shooter who seriously injured Ms. Giffords and killed six people was prompted by the announcement of the Ms. Palin Support Committee.
In this new civil trial, Ms Palin said she felt “disarmed” in an editorial she wrote in 2017, according to her, when the newspaper learned there was no connection between the support committee’s propaganda and the shootings.
The New York Times has always defended goodwill.
The issue goes beyond the conflict between the conservative politician and the New York newspaper.
For the media and lawyers, writing about public figures is a symbol of freedom of expression and the press. In a famous 1964 Supreme Court decision (“New York Times Company v. Sullivan”), America’s highest court set a high bar for an official to win a defamation lawsuit.
It is necessary to prove the “genuine malice” by a press organization that would have published information “with the knowledge that it was false or with complete contempt for the truth”.
For Ms. Palin, it was “almost impossible,” Dmitriy Chakhnevich, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told AFP.
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