Judge says Sarah Palin did not produce ‘even a speck’ of evidence against New York Times in libel case

A jury also ruled against Ms Palin’s lawsuit

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 01 June 2022 17:26 BST
Related video: Sarah Palin says she is ready to run for office again

Sarah Palin's bid to sue to The New York Times for libel has once again failed after a judge rejected her request for a new case, saying she failed to produce "even a speck" of evidence to prove actual malice.

According to the Associated Press, Ms Palin, a former Republican vice presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska, was trying to bring a new libel lawsuit against the Times after her first attempt to sue the paper failed.

When a public figure sues someone for defamation, the plaintiff must show that the defendant engaged in "actual malice" — an intentional desire to damage the reputation of the plaintiff using information the defendant knows is false — rather than simple negligence.

This requirement makes it difficult for individuals with wealth and power to silence the media — or the average citizen — by filing a lawsuit every time they receive criticism.

Understanding that high bar, Ms Palin's attorneys attempted to argue that the judge in the first trial made procedural errors that should invalidate the first trial's results.

The judge disagreed, saying "none of these [complaints] was erroneous" and said they did not provide evidence enough to support granting Ms Palin a new trial.

Ms Palin sued the Times over a 2017 editorial that incorrectly linked a map from her campaign to mass shooting. She claimed the association harmed her reputation and her career.

The Times admitted that the editorial was incorrect, but noted that it was corrected shortly after the paper learned of the error and representatives from the publication called it an "honest mistake" that was published as a matter of fact, not an attack.

Because Ms Palin could not prove that the Times had intended to hurt her reputation nor could she prove the Times was aware the information was incorrect at the time of publishing, she lost her case.

In February, even before jury deliberations began on Ms Palin's case, US District Court Judge Jed Rakoff announced his intent to toss out the case, as he felt the complaint did not provide any evidence that the Times acted out of malice.

The jurors who heard the case ultimately agreed and ruled against Ms Palin's lawsuit the next day.

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