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Sarah Palin Reloads in Suit Over Editorial

Sarah Palin did not retreat, she reloaded, after a federal judge threw out her defamation suit against the New York Times this past summer. The former governor of Alaska formally filed her notice of appeal on Tuesday.

MANHATTAN (CN) – Sarah Palin did not retreat, she reloaded on Tuesday, filing a notice of appeal this afternoon more than two months after a federal judge threw out her defamation suit against the New York Times.

Spearheaded by the legal team that bankrupted Gawker, Palin’s case drew crosshairs on the paper of record over a column titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” which used her as an example of overheated political rhetoric inciting violence.

The piece ran hours after a shooter opened fire at a congressional baseball practice, and the Times drew a connection between that event and an earlier attack on Democratic Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

In 2011, while Giffords was meeting with voters in a supermarket parking lot, Jared Lee Loughner unleased carnage, fatally shooting six people and wounding Giffords.

The Times editorial reminded readers of a graphic that Palin’s political action committee distributed years earlier, marking Giffords’ district on a map with crosshairs.

Disputing the editorial’s language that she bore a “clear” and “direct” connection to Loughner’s rampage, Palin noted that there was never any proof that Loughner saw the ad.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled this summer, however, that the former governor of Alaska could not spin defamation out of an editorial error.

“Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States,” Rakoff wrote on Aug. 29. “In the exercise of that freedom, mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others.”

The Times issued multiple corrections within hours of publication that failed to placate Palin.

“Responsible journals will promptly correct their errors; others will not,” Rakoff’s ruling said. “But if political journalism is to achieve its constitutionally endorsed role of challenging the powerful, legal redress by a public figure must be limited to those cases where the public figure has a plausible factual basis for complaining that the mistake was made maliciously, that is, with knowledge it was false or with reckless disregard of its falsity.”

A spokeswoman for the Times declined to comment.

Palin’s attorney Shane Vogt, who signed the notice of appeal on behalf of his firm Bajo Cuva Cohen Turkel, has not returned a request for comment.

Categories / Appeals, Civil Rights, Media

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