And the Much Needed Descent into Obscurity Continues
This is no surprise no one. Since Sullivan v. NY Times, it has been very difficult for a public figure to win a defamation lawsuit against someone. You have to show malice, which it this case would mean a reckless disregard for the truth, in addition to proving damage, whwere a public figure is involved.
In this case, Palin’s testimony was a complete sh%$ show, and could not (out side of the masturbatory fantasies of Clarence “Worst Coca Cola Spokesman Ever” Thomas) meet the burden of proof in such cases.
If you are as dumb as a post, engaging in a legal action that requires you to be on the stand is probably a suboptimal strategy.
That is not to say that the article in question, an OP/ED, was not a total sh%$ show, though not through the fault of the original writer.
Hames Bennet, the (now thankfully former) opinion page editor for the Times, read an editorial condemning the sniper attack on Republican Congressman at a baseball practice, and decided that in order to create “balance” it needed to have some completely unrelated condemnation of the other side, so he added the text condemning Palin’s PAC to the text.
So it was bad journalism, and a hack move by the editor, but it did not rise to the level required by Sullivan, and the judge called bullsh%$:
A federal judge said Monday that he planned to dismiss Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against The New York Times, ruling that her legal team had failed to meet the extremely high legal standard required to prove that the newspaper defamed her when it published a 2017 editorial erroneously linking her political rhetoric to a mass shooting.
The jury was still deliberating behind closed doors in a Lower Manhattan courthouse, adding an unexpected and unusual twist in a case that is a major test of the First Amendment protections that journalists work under. Judge Jed S. Rakoff said he would allow the jurors to continue weighing the arguments by both sides. If they rule in favor of Ms. Palin, he will set aside their verdict and dismiss the case, he said.
The jury is expected back in the courtroom on Tuesday.
The judge indicated that he understood that his word would not be the last one in the case. Ms. Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, is very likely to appeal. And his decision to allow the jurors to continue weighing the evidence and come to a decision was intended to avoid any complications if the case is heard by an appeals court.
In lengthy comments from the bench, Judge Rakoff said he did not believe that Ms. Palin’s lawyers had produced enough evidence to prove their defamation claims.
Basically, Rakoff is saying that the case does not pass the laugh test, and I would agree.
The real goal here, of course, is to get this to the Supreme Court, where at least some of the justices want to reverse Sullivan., (Gorsuch and Thomas have publicly said that they want to do this.)
We will see what happens on appeal.