WASHINGTON, June 28, 2017 — Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times. The suit is in response to a Times editorial that suggested Palin had incited the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona.
Palin is seeking a minimum of $75,000 in damages; the final amount will be determined by a jury.
The lawsuit states in part:
“Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for defaming her by publishing a statement about her that it knew to be false: that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011.
“Specifically, on June 14, 2017, The Times Editorial Board, which represents the ‘voice’ of The Times, falsely stated as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mrs. Palin incited Jared Loughner’s January 8, 2011, shooting rampage at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, during which he shot nineteen people, severely wounding United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killing six, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl.”
The Times editorial used images created by a PAC tied to Palin as an example of how vicious American politics can become. The independent PAC had released a map of key electoral districts that marked Giffords’ district and those of some other Democrats with target crosshairs.
Palin blasted the editorial on Facebook, calling it sickening.
The editorial was published just hours after a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers practicing for the annual Congressional charity baseball game. The shooter seriously wounded Rep. Steve Scalise and shot several others as well.
Following the uproar over the editorial, the Times put out a halfhearted correction, saying the political messaging by the PAC had no link to the 2011 shooting. Yet the correction did not make any reference to Palin herself, rendering it woefully insufficient according to the suit. Palin is seeking damages, which will be determined by a jury.
The damage to Ms. Palin, given similar allegations and innuendos the Times made at the time of Ms. Giffords’ shooting by the paper, will be hard to refute, according to numerous legal experts.
The New York Times says they will fight Palin’s suit.