By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times filed by former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin in which she blames a 2017 editorial for falsely accusing her of inciting former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona.
In its reversal, the appellate panel said Judge Jed Rakoff of U.S. District Court in Manhattan in 2017 had relied on facts outside of legal filings in the case to make his determination to toss the lawsuit.
Specifically, Rakoff “erred” by relying on evidence introduced at a hearing in the case, according to the decision by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
That evidence was testimony by James Bennet, the editorial page editor who had written the editorial in dispute, who said he had been unaware past articles in the Times and The Atlantic, where he previously had been editor-in-chief, which reported that there was no connection between Palin and her PAC and Jared Loughner, the man who seriously wounded Giffords in a mass shooting.
The higher court sent the case back to Radkoff and directed that the discovery phase commence in which parties can now begin taking depositions and collecting evidence from each other.
“This is—and has always been—a case about media accountability. We are pleased with the Court’s decision, and we look forward to starting discovery and ultimately proceeding to trial,” said Palin attorneys Elizabeth Locke and Ken Turkel in an emailed statement to CNBC.
In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear… Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.
In fact, there was no clear link between Loughner’s attack and the campaign poster. And though the Times subsequently corrected the record, Palin sued for defamation anyway.
Fox News reported that the map was ‘targeting’ lawmakers who voted for Obamacare. However, “the editorial connected it to Jared Loughner’s 2011 shooting of Giffords, whose district was among the ones identified in the map.”
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