Judge: Sarah Palin seeks new trial in defamation lawsuit

Posted at 10:04 PM, February 23, 2022 and last updated 4:48 PM, July 5, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) — A Manhattan judge said Wednesday that lawyers for Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are seeking a new trial on her defamation claims against The New York Times, along with his removal from the case.

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff made the disclosure during a brief telephone conference with lawyers.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin leaves a courthouse in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. Palin lost her libel lawsuit against The New York Times on Tuesday when a jury rejected her claim that the newspaper maliciously damaged her reputation by erroneously linking her campaign rhetoric to a mass shooting. (AP Photo/David Martin)

Rakoff said in an order last week that jurors knew before delivering their verdict against Palin earlier this month that he had ruled against her as a matter of law the previous day.

Rakoff said the jurors repeatedly assured his law clerk that pop-up news notifications on their phones about the judge’s ruling did not affect their deliberations.

After lawyers for Palin asked to make their requests in a 50-page written submission, the judge said each side could file papers of the same length after he issues a written opinion next week explaining why he decided he was tossing out the case regardless of the verdict returned by the jury.

Palin, a former Republican vice-presidential candidate, claimed in her 2017 lawsuit that the newspaper libeled her the same year with an editorial about gun control.

The Times maintained that it quickly corrected any errors in the editorial and had made an “honest mistake” that was never meant to harm Palin.