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Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s libel suit against the New York Times is set to be argued before a jury on Monday.
Palin alleges that the paper and former editorial page editor James Bennett defamed her in an op-ed on June 14, 2017, by linking her political action committee to the 2011 shooting of former Arizona Democratic representative Gabrielle Giffords. The editorial was published after the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise (R., La.) by a left-wing extremist.
Jury selection begins Monday morning after four and a half years of litigation and could be followed by opening statements as soon as Monday afternoon. The trial will likely last five days, according to Reuters.
The editorial initially stated that “the link to political incitement was clear” between Giffords’s shooting in 2011 and a map circulated by Palin’s PAC that showed 20 Democratic districts, including Giffords’s, placed under “stylized crosshairs.” The Times revised the editorial shortly after publication to disavow a “link” between the map and the Giffords shooting.
Bennett has stated he made an error in adding language claiming a link between the two, however Palin has pressed forward with a libel suit. Palin’s legal team has not commented on the case. Jordan Cohen, a Times spokesperson, said the paper committed an error that should not be punished as defamatory.
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