A defamation lawsuit filed by former governor of Alaska and 2008 Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin against The New York Times is set to begin Monday, Reuters reported Sunday afternoon.
The trial will be presided over by US District Judge Jed Rakoff, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York, and targets both the Times and then-editorial page editor James Bennet, whom Palin has accused of defaming her by linking her to a deadly mass-shooting incident in Arizona in 2011.
Since 2017, Palin has accused Bennet and the Times of defamation over an editorial which tied Palin’s political action committee to the 2011 Tuscon shooting, in which a gunman with a history of mental illness opened fire at a constituent meeting held by then-congresswoman Gabby Giffords (AZ-D). Six people were killed in the shooting, while Giffords was seriously wounded.
An editorial piece published by the Times wrote that a political advertisement featuring crosshairs on battleground districts released by Palin’s political action committee nearly a year before the shooting, ahead of the November 2010 midterms, constituted incitement against Giffords.
"The link to political incitement was clear,” the editorial wrote.
The damages sought by Palin are unspecified, but Reuters estimated the scope of the lawsuit at $421,000, based on papers filed with the court.