Palin Resumes Legal Battle With Times After COVID Illness | New York News

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By TOM HAYS, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was back in a New York courtroom on Thursday, more than a week after a trial began in her libel lawsuit against the New York Times was reported because she tested positive for COVID-19.

The trial was scheduled to begin in the morning in Manhattan federal court where Palin will be the star witness. She is seeking unspecified damages based on claims that a Times editorial harmed her budding career as a political commentator.

A scrum of reporters surrounded Palin as she made her way to the courthouse. When asked what she hoped to achieve with her trial, she replied, “Justice for people who are waiting for the truth in the media.”

A judge postponed the trial last week to give an unvaccinated Palin time to overcome any possible symptoms. Away from court, she caused a stir when she was seen dining at an upscale Manhattan restaurant on two separate occasions, shortly before and after her positive test results were released.

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Palin, 57, has publicly stated that she will not receive the vaccine.

The Republican’s libel case survived an initial dismissal that was overturned on appeal in 2019, paving the way for a rare case where a major news organization will have to defend itself against libel claims involving a public figure.

Palin sued The Times in 2017, accusing it of damaging her reputation with a gun control op-ed published after Louisiana U.S. Representative Steve Scalise, also a Republican, was injured when a man with a history of anti-GOP activity opened fire on a congressman. baseball team practice in Washington.

In the editorial, the Times wrote that before the 2011 mass shooting in an Arizona supermarket parking lot that seriously injured former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords and killed six others, the committee Political Action Palin circulated a map of electoral districts featuring Giffords and 19 other Democrats. under a stylized crosshair.

In a correction two days later, the Times said the editorial had “incorrectly stated that a link existed between the political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting” and that it had “incorrectly described” the map.

The disputed wording had been added to the editorial by James Bennet, then editor of the editorial page. At trial, a jury is expected to decide whether he acted with “actual malice”, meaning he knew what he wrote was untrue, or with a “reckless disregard” for the truth.

Bennet said he believed the editorial was accurate when it was published.

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