Day After Judge Dismisses Sarah Palin's Lawsuit, Jury Says NYT 'Not Liable'

A jury has determined that The New York Times is "not liable" for libel after former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin sued the paper.

The case was already tossed out by Judge Jed S. Rakoff, with the jury reaching a similar conclusion as the judge, according to the Washington Post. The jury indicated that the evidence and information provided in the case do not prove that the newspaper intentionally tried to defame Palin by publishing a 2017 editorial that she claimed tried to suggest that a map made by her PAC influenced a shooting. Palin currently works as a political commentator and Republican consultant.

The Times and its then-editor, James Bennet, repeatedly denied Palin's allegations. The Times has maintained that it quickly edited the piece and that the connection was a mistake and not malicious. In separate statements, the newspaper said that they had "incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting" and that "we got an important fact wrong."

Bennet provided testimony at the trial, saying, "I've regretted it pretty much every day since," according to CBS News.

During the trial, Palin testified that "it was devastating to read a false accusation that I had anything to do with murder," CBS News reported. "I felt powerless—that I was up against Goliath....I was David."

Both Rakoff and the jury determined that a key part of the libel trial, which was proving that the newspaper published the editorial knowing that it was defamatory, was not properly explained. Therefore, the case had to be thrown out, Newsweek reported.

"Your job was to decide the facts, which you've now done. My job is to decide the law," said Rakoff after the jury presented their verdict, the Washington Post reported. "And I've concluded as a matter of law that the defendants are not liable, too."

The New York Times has celebrated the verdict. According to spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha, the newspaper wanted to extend its thanks to the jurors for their deliberations.

"The New York Times welcomes today's verdict. It is a reaffirmation of a fundamental tenet of American law: public figures should not be permitted to use libel suits to punish or intimidate news organizations that make, acknowledge and swiftly correct unintentional errors," wrote Ha in a statement. "It is gratifying that the jury and the judge understood the legal protections for the news media and our vital role in American society. We also want to thank the jurors for their careful deliberations in a difficult area of the law."

Newsweek has reached out to representatives of Palin for comment.

Update 02/15/2022 at 4:32 p.m. EST: This story has been updated with more information on the trial, as well as new quotes from Sarah Palin, David Bennet and Danielle Rhoades Ha.

Sarah Palin, Lawsuit, Tossed
A jury has decided to throw out the lawsuit filed by Sarah Palin accusing The New York Times of libel. In this photo, Palin arrives at a federal court in Manhattan to resume a case against The New York Times after it was postponed because she tested positive for COVID-19, on February 3 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images