Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation, over an editorial that accused her of “inciting” Jared Lee Loughner to shoot then-Rep. Gabby Giffords, a claim that’s long since been debunked.
But while many on social media are accusing Palin of using the NYT‘s lack of popularity among conservatives to inject herself into the limelight, the suit appears to be no laughing matter.
Palin has hired some of the best in the business to handle her case – the team that represented Hulk Hogan in a recent, high-profile defamation case – and the law definitely weighs in her favor, thanks to the NYT‘s apparent inability to mask their derision for the former Vice Presidential candidate.
Lawyers Ken Turkel and Shane Vogel obtained an earth-shattering $140 million verdict against Gawker Media for publishing a sex tape of Hogan, which was recorded without his knowledge or consent.
The jury awarded Hogan $55 million in economic damages and $60 million in damages for emotional distress, and topped that off with an additional $25 million in punitive damages to teach Gawker a lesson, according to Turkel and Vogel’s website. The verdict withstood scrutiny, and both Gawker and its founder, Nick Denton, were forced to declare bankruptcy.
Sarah’s case is not entirely similar, but its by no means frivolous. The NYT‘s editorial, which appeared June 14, cited a clearly erroneous connection between Palin and Loughner—one they could have easily Googled.
The NYT has no fondness for Palin. A jury will need to decide whether their distaste for the former politicians rises to the level of “actual malice” in writing the article.
Her case is compounded by the fact that “inciting to violence” is a crime, meaning that the NYT not only got its facts wrong, but a jury could find that the NYT‘s claim is so egregious that Palin doesn’t even have to prove her damages to earn an award.
Palin’s lawyers did not specify a dollar amount for the damages that they’re seeking from NYT, but,as with Hogan, they are requested a jury trial.