Federal Court Denies Another Sarah Palin Libel Lawsuit Attempt

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A request from Sarah Palin — who’s now running for Congress, for some reason — for a new trial over her previous defamation claims against The New York Times has been denied.

Palin’s original claims hinged on a 2017 Times article in which the publication incorrectly described a “clear” link between a graphic shared by a Palin political action committee and the 2011 mass shooting in which six people were killed and then-Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among the 13 people who were injured. The graphic — a map — had crosshairs over Giffords’s Congressional district. At trial, Palin failed to prove “actual malice” on the part of the Times.

“Whatever she may have claimed in her complaint and pre-trial submissions, Palin was unable to deliver at trial admissible evidence that remotely supported her claim that she was intentionally or recklessly defamed by the defendants,” federal Judge Jed Rakoff remarked in rejecting her request for a new trial. The judge added: “In a defamation case brought by a public figure like Sarah Palin, a mistake is not enough to win if it was not motivated by actual malice… And the striking thing about the trial here was that Palin, for all her earlier assertions, could not in the end introduce even a speck of such evidence.”

Charlie Stadtlander, a spokesperson for the Times, hailed the rejection. “We are pleased to see the court’s decision, and remain confident that the judge and jury decided the case fairly and correctly,” he said. Meanwhile, Palin got the endorsement of Trump himself in her bid for Congress, although Trump endorsements haven’t always actually helped buoy recipients to victory — David Perdue recently lost to Brian Kemp in the GOP primary for Georgia’s governorship by over 50 percent. “She was one of the most popular Governors because she stood up to corruption in both State Government and the Fake News Media,” Trump said of Palin. “Sarah lifted the McCain presidential campaign out of the dumps despite the fact that she had to endure some very evil, stupid, and jealous people within the campaign itself. They were out to destroy her, but she didn’t let that happen.” But… they lost? So, it’s not clear what Trump is talking about when he says Palin got the McCain campaign “out of the dumps.” Does Trump even know what he’s talking about?

Palin isn’t the only right-wing figure to bring high-profile court claims against media outlets in recent years — and she’s not the only one to lose. In April, a three-judge panel on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals shut down an attempt by former California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes to undo a previous ruling throwing out a defamation case he brought against CNN. That case was over an article CNN published back in 2019 stating that Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, was willing to testify to members of Congress that Nunes discussed efforts to obtain damaging information on the Bidens with a former Ukrainian prosecutor.

Featured image: Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons license