Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation, and attorneys for both sides appeared in court Friday.  The attorney for the NYT claimed that the publication of the well-known and thoroughly debunked claim against Palin was an “honest mistake.”

The New York Post reports:

“There was an honest mistake in posting the editorial,” lawyer David Schultz told Manhattan federal Judge Jed Rakoff.

Last week, Palin sued the Times over a June 14th editorial that stated there was a “direct” link between one of Palin’s PAC ads and the shooting by Jared Lee Loughner.

But there’s no evidence he ever saw the ad, which placed Gifford’s district in stylized crosshairs. The Times issued a correction.

On Friday, Palin’s lawyers argued that the Times knew the story was false.

“It was literally acknowledged the same day in another story in their paper,” said Kenneth Turkel.

Hot Air has more about this second story:

It didn’t take too much digging in the archives to confirm that Palin’s team is correct. The article was by Alexander Burns and it does indeed appear in the Gray Lady on the same day that the editorial came out. And if you go back and read both the original and “corrected” editorials from the board of the New York Times, their “retraction and correction” appears almost word for word in Burns’ article. (Emphasis added)

In 2011, the shooting of Ms. Giffords by a mentally ill assailant came during a convulsive political period, when a bitter debate over health care yielded a wave of threats against lawmakers. Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential candidate, drew sharp criticism for having posted a graphic online that showed cross hairs over the districts of several members of Congress, including Ms. Giffords — though no connection to the crime was established.