Palin Libel Case Tossed By Judge During Deliberations

Palin Libel Case Tossed By Judge During Deliberations

Palin Libel Case Tossed By Judge During Deliberations

So much for a jury trial!

While we here at Victory Girls openly speculated whether or not a jury in Manhattan could return with a verdict favorable to Sarah Palin against the New York Times, it turns out that we should have been paying attention to the JUDGE. Apparently, U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff decided on Monday that Palin and her lawyers hadn’t proved their case – which was ALREADY BEING DELIBERATED ON BY THE JURY – so he just tossed the whole thing.

Yes, you read that right.

A judge has ruled that a libel lawsuit former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin filed against the New York Times over a 2017 editorial should be thrown out because her lawyers failed to produce adequate evidence that the newspaper knew what it wrote about her was false or acted recklessly toward indications it was false.”

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff Monday came as a Manhattan jury was deliberating on Palin’s suit, which claimed the Times and former editorial page editor James Bennet defamed her by unfairly linking her to a 2011 shooting spree in Arizona that killed six people and gravely wounded then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.).”

What on earth is going through the judge’s head? To top the whole thing off, he’s going to just let the jury come up with a verdict anyway, even though he’s already ruled in favor of the New York Times. Why? Because he knows this will ALLLLLLLL be headed for appeal.


And what the Times did? “Unfortunate editorializing.”

The judge said in court Monday that Palin’s lawyers had no “legally sufficient evidentiary basis” for a case against the Times, CNN reported.”

“I think this [was] an example of very unfortunate editorializing on the part of the Times,” Rakoff said. “The law here sets a very high standard [for actual malice]. The court finds that that standard has not been met.”

It was just an oopsie, everyone! James Bennet feels bad now, so let’s not make a federal case out of it, right? RIGHT???

Palin, for her part, said very little except to point out that THE JURY IS STILL DELIBERATING.

Which is the whole point. Palin and her lawyers did not ask for a bench trial, where the judge also acts as jury. A jury was impaneled, sat through the trial, and is in the midst of deliberations when Judge Rakoff (who, incidentally, dismissed Palin’s libel suit the first time before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the lawsuit and sent it back to Rakoff) decided to upend the entire process… to what end? Does he just hate Sarah Palin this much, and just wants this case out of his court?

The jury is not sequestered, so they are going to know that the judge will render their verdict moot the second they are done. How is that justice? And wouldn’t that be grounds for a mistrial?


Does it feel like the judge is signaling to the jury to just rule in favor of the Times, in order to deny Palin a win at any cost? Obviously, if the jury agrees with the judge, Palin’s case gets a lot harder to appeal – unless she gets a mistrial. But why not just let the jury finish deliberating and render a verdict? Either side would be appealing a decision against them to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.

This is just yucky and prejudicial and highly improper. And you can bet if the shoe was on the other foot, and the judge had found in Palin’s favor before the jury came back, the media would be screaming bloody murder. After all, this case is not about the money. This libel case was about scoring the moral victory. And Judge Rakoff just made sure that there was no victory to be had by making a hash out of a jury trial.

Hopefully, Palin and her lawyers are ready for whatever the jury verdict is, and if the jury rejects her libel claims, then she should absolutely file for a mistrial.

Featured image: Tom LeGro, NewsHour/Flickr.com, cropped, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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