Federal Judge Orders NYT Editorial Writer To Testify In Palin Suit

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Aug 11, 2017 12:40 PM
Federal Judge Orders NYT Editorial Writer To Testify In Palin Suit

A federal judge has ruled that The New York Times editorial writer who’s being accused of making defamatory claim against Sarah Palin must testify under oath. The piece was written in the wake of the mass assassination attempt against Republican members of Congress. In that horrific attack that occurred in June, leftist James Hodgkinson opened fire on them while they were practicing for the annual baseball game, critically wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) (via NYT):

The author of a New York Times editorial will have to testify under oath in a defamation lawsuit filed by the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

The Times filed a motion last month seeking to dismiss the case, and the judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, said the testimony was necessary to help him determine whether to grant that motion. Mr. Rakoff set the hearing for Aug. 16. Mr. Rakoff said last month that he would rule by the end of this month on the motion to dismiss the case.

A spokeswoman for The Times said in a statement that the news organization would provide the testimony the judge had ordered. David McCraw, deputy general counsel for The Times, said the witness would be James Bennet, The Times’s editorial page editor.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in June, Ms. Palin contends that The Times “violated the law and its own policies” when it linked her in an editorial to a mass shooting in January 2011. The editorial was published online on June 14, the same day that a gunman opened fire at a baseball field where Republican congressmen were practicing, injuring several people including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana.

Let’s circle back to the the controversial passage [emphasis mine]:

Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. 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.

First, the link was not clear, second, it’s long been debunked that Palin had any links to Loughner whatsoever. There was pretty much uniformity across the political spectrum that this was a rather irresponsible paragraph. The Times issued a correction, but Palin filed a lawsuit and now here we are.