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Judge in Palin, New York Times defamation case to address ‘fracas’

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The Manhattan judge overseeing Sarah Palin’s defamation case against the New York Times said he’ll soon address the “fracas” surrounding the since-dismissed case — as her lawyers continue to push for a new trial.

Jurors were still deliberating the case when federal court Judge Jed Rakoff announced he planned on tossing the suit altogether, ruling that Palin’s legal team had not shown the Times acted with actual malice in a 2017 editorial at the heart of the trial.

While the jurors ultimately ruled in favor of the Gray Lady, several said they saw news alerts on their phones of Rakoff’s decision to throw out the case while they were deliberating. 

In a short phone hearing Wednesday, Rakoff listed five new motions filed by Palin’s lawyers following the push-alert controversy, which included disqualifying Rakoff from the case altogether, disclosing the judge’s communication with the media, and a motion to set aside the verdict or have a new trial.

Federal court Judge Jed Rakoff said that he would explain the “fracas” surrounding the Sarah Palin case that he dismissed.
Photo by Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rakoff said would file a written decision by March 1 detailing why he dismissed the case, and that “in light of all this fracas, I have expedited that.”

Rakoff also said Wednesday he had “zero communications with the media during trial. None whatsoever.” He said it wasn’t until a reporter contacted him about the push alerts after the trial that he gave the media a short statement.

Palin sued the Times in 2017, claiming she was defamed by an erroneous editorial entitled “America’s Lethal Politics.”

Palin's lawyers have filed five motions regarding the dismissed lawsuit including one to remove Rakoff from the case going forward.
Palin’s lawyers have filed five motions regarding the dismissed lawsuit including one to remove Rakoff from the case going forward.
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images
Palin had claimed that the New York Times defamed her in a 2017 editorial.
Palin had claimed that the New York Times defamed her in a 2017 editorial.
AFP via Getty Images

The piece asserted a link between a map circulated by Palin’s political action committee and a 2011 mass shooting that gravely wounded US Rep. Gabby Giffords.

The Times argued throughout the trial that its editors made an honest mistake that was quickly corrected.



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