A Manhattan federal judge on Monday promised to decide by the end of August whether to let a libel suit by Sarah Palin against The New York Times proceed after hearing 90 minutes of arguments on the case.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff didn’t say how he was leaning during the hearing on Palin’s claim that she was defamed by a June editorial in the Times that said there was a “clear” link to “political incitement” by Palin in the 2011 shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords.
The editorial on political violence discussed ads from Palin’s political committee which used crosshairs on a map targeting Giffords’ district. There is no evidence linking Giffords’ shooter Jared Loughner to the map, and the Times ran a correction on the editorial’s claim.
Times lawyers want Rakoff to dismiss the case because there’s no “plausible” claim the paper acted with malice. Palin’s lawyers say the Times’ own articles show it knew the claim was false, and it may have targeted her because attacking a noted conservative attracts attention online.
Palin’s lawyers want to collect information from more than 20 Times employees to make their case. Rakoff put off any gathering of evidence from the Times until he makes his decision.