Judge Overrules Jury, Throws Out Sarah Palin’s Lawsuit against New York Times

A federal judge has stepped in while the jury was deliberating on Sarah Palin’s lawsuit against the New York Times and thrown the case out of court.

U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff tossed the lawsuit because the former Alaska governor failed to prove the newspaper acted with “actual malice.”

The Monday ruling from Rakoff came as a Manhattan jury was still deliberating on Palin’s suit which claimed the Times defamed her by linking her to a 2011 shooting spree in Arizona.

“My job is to apply the law,” Rakoff told the crowd in his courtroom in downtown Manhattan today.

“The law here sets a very high standard for actual malice and in this case, the court finds that standard has not been met.”

According to Buzzfeed, “But Rakoff said he would not formally dismiss Palin’s complaint until the jury of nine New Yorkers reaches its verdict.

“With the expectation that his decision will be appealed, Rakoff said that the court of appeals will then have both his ruling on the law and the jury’s view on the facts and could, if they find him to have ruled in error, then choose to reinstate the verdict, rather than ordering a new trial.”

Washington Post reporter Erik Wemple said:

“Judge Rakoff has ruled in favor of the New York Times in Sarah Palin’s defamation suit.

“The jury will continue its deliberations in the case, but Rakoff has determined pursuant to the Times’ Rule 50 motion that there’s not enough evidence to support Palin’s claim.

“Such motions are common in these cases, though I cannot speak to how common it is to issue a ruling while the jury is still deliberating.

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“That said, it was clear on Friday afternoon after the jury was first sent to deliberate, that Judge Rakoff was taking the NYT motion quite seriously.

“Though he dissed one aspect of the Times argument, he was interested in the level of evidence to support ‘actual malice.’

“This ruling puts Judge Rakoff pretty much where he was in 2017 when he tossed the Palin case on the motion to dismiss.

“He argued that this was a case of negligent journalism, not the assertion of knowing falsehood/reckless disregard that a public figure must prove.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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