On Tuesday, a jury found the New York Times “not liable” in a defamation suit brought by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin after a Bill Clinton-appointed judge tossed the case while jurors were still deliberating on Monday.
The Hill reports:
The jury’s decision Tuesday, which was unanimous, came a day after the judge in the case indicated he would dismiss the lawsuit against the newspaper, saying Palin’s attorneys produced a lack of evidence to suggest the news organization acted recklessly or knowingly published false material about her.
“I think this [was] an example of very unfortunate editorializing on the part of The Times,” U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff said in court on Monday. “The law here sets a very high standard [for actual malice]. The court finds that that standard has not been met.”
Palin’s lawyers argued during the trial that The Times and James Bennet, then the editorial page editor at the newspaper, acted with “actual malice” against the former governor when they published an editorial linking her to the deadly 2011 shooting in an Arizona parking lot of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
“The New York Times welcomes today’s decision,” a spokesperson for the newspaper said after Rakoff indicated he would move to dismiss the case as the jury was still deliberating. “It is a reaffirmation of a fundamental tenet of American law: public figures should not be permitted to use libel suits to punish or intimidate news organizations that make, acknowledge and swiftly correct unintentional errors.”
Palin plans to appeal the case.