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Sarah Palin v. NY Times VERDICT Watch – UPDATE – Jury Breaks For Day, Returns Monday

Sarah Palin v. NY Times VERDICT Watch – UPDATE – Jury Breaks For Day, Returns Monday

UPDATE 6 p.m. – Jury has broken for the day, no verdict, return 9:30 a.m. Monday

The jury in the case of Sarah Palin v. The New York Times is in the hands of the jury. We will report as soon as a verdict is reached.

UPDATE 6 p.m. – Jury has broken for the day, no verdict, return 9:30 a.m. Monday


Here’s the public listening line: (844) 721-7237, access code 7920433.

Here is the jury form.

The judge had not allowed the issue of punitive damages to get to the jury.

Here is a summary of closing arguments from Deadline:

During closing arguments, Palin’s attorney Kenneth Turkel argued that there was ample evidence that the Times had reckless disregard for the truth, one of the thresholds for winning a libel suit. He noted that Bennet, seeking to find an example of a Republican engaging in “political incitement,” wrote the line in the op-ed even after he ordered research that showed that the link was false. It also included a hyperlink to an ABC News story that said that no link was ever shown between the Palin PAC and the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner.

“What it is Mr. Bennet being so convinced that that theory is right that he tried to reverse engineer the facts on it,” Turkel said.
The attorney for the Times, David Axelrod, told jurors that the op-ed was an “honest mistake” that was quickly corrected.

“There was no conspiracy,” Axelrod said. “This was a mess up, a goof.”

He pointed to a Times Twitter posting, alerting readers of the revised language, that read, “We screwed up.”

“Why would they write, ‘We screwed up,’ if they intended to harm someone?” Axelrod said.

The original Times editorial, headlined America’s Lethal Politics, read, “Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs.”

The Times issued a correction and revised the editorial the day after it posted online. The Times also conceded that it had incorrectly characterized a map from Palin’s political action committee that featured crosshairs over certain Democrats’ electoral districts, including Giffords’.

Axelrod argued that Palin had not shown that the Times knew what they were printing was false, one of the central thresholds for public figures like Palin to prevail in a libel case.

He also argued that Palin’s reputation was not damaged, pointing to her ability to garner speaking engagements afterward, along with a spot on Fox’s The Masked Singer in 2020.

“The Masked Singer. Do they put on inciters of violence?” Axelrod asked.

“Yes, Governor Palin said that she was mortified. That doesn’t mean it was defamatory,” he said.

Turkel noted that the Times ran a correction, but it did not include an apology or refer to Palin by name, while keeping the name of her political action committee in the revised op-ed.

He also countered a Times‘ defense: That Bennet’s use of the word “incitement” was not meant to suggest that that the rhetoric Palin’s PAC had a direct link to Loughner’s attack. Bennet testified that he used the word more broadly, to point to the environment of harsh rhetoric, but Turkel noted that few people were reading it that way.

Turkel said that the editorial was “indicative of an arrogance and sense of power that’s uncontrolled” at the Times, with disdain toward conservative figures like Palin, per the AP.

“All they had to do was dislike her a little less, and we’re not sitting here today,” he said.

Politico adds:

Sarah Palin’s lawyer offered jurors a simple explanation Friday for why The New York Times used a 2017 editorial to link Palin to a deadly shooting in Arizona six years earlier: a long-standing political vendetta against conservatives.

“They just didn’t care. She’s one of them,” attorney Ken Turkel said during closing arguments of the former Alaska governor’s libel suit against the Times….

On several occasions during his summation of the evidence in a Manhattan courtroom, Turkel argued that the Times’ decision to reference Palin’s political action committee in the editorial spurred by a shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice in Virginia was part of a pattern at the newspaper of slurring Republicans.

“There’s common thread through all the pieces as to how they treat people on the right they don’t agree with,” Palin’s attorney said. “Look at the common thread: how in every single one of them they demonize the right wing or just treated them differently.” ….

Palin’s lawyer said there was deep irony in the editorial in question, titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” which argued that extreme political rhetoric can fuel real-world violence. He said the then-editor of the opinion section, James Bennet, and his colleagues were so intent on claiming such a link that they casually accused Palin of complicity in murder.

“It’s absurd. In so many respects, they perpetuate everything they sit there and condemn,” Turkel said.


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Judge Rakoff. Rhymes with….

He’s a lib. A Clinton appointee, no less.

Judge: Excludes extremely relevant evidence of willful and wanton conduct
Also Judge: There is no evidence of willful and wanton conduct.

Classic misuse of evidence rules to reach the Judge’s desired conclusion. The evidence rules can be used to influence a jury. but here, they have been used in such a dramatic way, that the judge has taken the issue out of the Jury’s hands entirely.

What a disgrace.

Instead of supplying justice to our society, our courts are the greatest source of injustice.

    We could say Wakoff is the McConnell of judges.

    “…our courts are the greatest source of injustice.”

    Yes. Defund them. I’d like to see them and the police eliminated. Justice would be better served were we to have street justice served for several months. Perhaps from the ashes of such might an uncorrupted justice system arise.

IIRC the judge effectively didn’t permit discovery into bias.

Prediction: Liable, and $1

The irony is that the times own piece tries to suggest political speech can “incite violence.” Saying that, how can they defend that their own print rhetoric doesn’t incite the same?

Has Palin personally (not her lawyer) ever addressed why she chose to file suit in the Southern District of NY?

    TargaGTS in reply to maxmillion. | February 12, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    IDK if Palin has ever addressed it. But, I believe it’s because plaintiff and defendant are domiciled in different states, federal court would have jurisdiction even though defamation cases are more typically heard in state court. As the publisher is located in Manhattan, the action was filed in the Sourthern District of NY.

    If it would have been a local Alaska newspaper that defamed her, she would have likely filed her action in AK state court.

      Stuytown in reply to TargaGTS. | February 12, 2022 at 3:52 pm

      She didn’t have to file where the defendant was.

        TargaGTS in reply to Stuytown. | February 12, 2022 at 5:44 pm

        it’s complicated. But, the tl;dr is she may or may not have prevailed if she filed in AK and the Times moved to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. Generally, out of state defendants must have ‘meaningful connections’ in another state to be subject to that state’s jurisdiction. Courts have found that simply allowing access to your online publication (as the NY Times does with the online version of their newspaper) may not qualify as a ‘meaningful connection.’

        So, her lawyers – probably correctly – made the judgement to pick their battles and instead file in federal court in NY mooting any potential jurisdictional issues that the Times might have raised.

        If the NY Times had a bureau in Alaska, or any other substantial business interest, filing in AK would have been a more realistic option. When national broadcast networks defame someone, they’re often sued in the plaintiffs state because the broadcast network will have a local affiliate station and that ‘meaningful connection’ opens the jurisdictional door.

“Why would they write, ‘We screwed up,’ if they intended to harm someone?” Axelrod said.”

An eight-year-old could answer that question: to avoid being punished for it.

I think that there was evidence of malice based on the well l own bias snd antipathy of the NYT for conservatives ( in addition to its hostility to Israel ) and the eagerness of the NYY to please the woke world Even if Palin wins the NYT will appeal but if Palin wins she should argue that there was ample proof of malice