After Palin's COVID infection, her libel case against NY Times begins in federal court in Manhattan

The one-time VP nominee is seeking unspecified damages.

Published: February 3, 2022 8:31am

Updated: February 3, 2022 9:07am

The libel case by Sarah Palin against The New York Times goes to trial Thursday after the former GOP vice presidential nominee tested positive for COVID-19, delaying court proceedings for over a week.

Jury selection for the long-awaited trial was scheduled to begin on Jan. 24, but was delayed when Palin tested positive that morning for the virus. After receiving medical clearance, Palin is expected to testify in person before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan. 

Palin sued the so-called "paper of record" in 2017, citing an editorial ("America's Lethal Politics") it ran about gun control, which was published after a gunman shot at several GOP members of Congress who were practicing for a baseball game, severely wounding Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise. 

The editorial argued that political rhetoric sparked by a map of vulnerable electoral districts circulated by Palin's political action committee, and with bullseye icons on the districts, contributed to the 2011 shooting of then-Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabby Giffords

Several days later, the newspaper corrected the editorial, saying it had, amid deadline pressures, incorrectly stated a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting.

Palin and her legal team must prove the newspaper behaved with malice, meaning that it knowingly published the editorial with no regard for the truth. To do so will require them to present an autopsy of how the editorial initially came together. 

The trial is reportedly expected to last five days. 

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