Several jurors in the defamation lawsuit filed by Sarah Palin against DailyExpertNews said they heard the judge’s decision to drop the case while they were still deliberating, judge Jed S. Rakoff said in Wednesday. an order.
On Monday, while the jurors were still deliberating, Judge Rakoff said he plans to drop the case if the jury decides in favor of Ms. Palin judged. The next day, the jury ruled and also rejected Ms. Palin that The Times had defamed her in a 2017 editorial that falsely linked her political rhetoric to a mass shooting.
In an injunction on Wednesday, Judge Rakoff said the court clerk spoke to the jury after the trial as part of routine investigations and was told by several jurors that they had discovered the verdict via push notifications from news websites on their smartphones.
“The jurors repeatedly assured the court clerk that these notices had not affected them in any way and played no part in their deliberations,” Judge Rakoff wrote.
Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska and a 2008 vice presidential candidate, sued The Times in 2017, accusing her of defaming her in an editorial that falsely linked her political rhetoric to a mass shooting in 2011. The Times corrected the error the morning after the lead article was published.
The case was seen as a test of the landmark 1964 Supreme Court ruling, DailyExpertNews Company v. Sullivan, which set a high bar of evidence for officials claiming defamation. By ruling in favor of The Times on Tuesday, the jury confirmed the precedent and found that the newspaper and its former opinion editor, James Bennet, had not acted with the level of malice or recklessness alleged by Ms Palin’s team. Public figures must prove that a news organization acted with “actual malice” by publishing false information, meaning that it displayed a reckless disregard for the truth or knew that the information was false.
Ms. Palin is expected to appeal the verdict. Judge Rakoff said Wednesday that while neither side objected to his ruling while allowing the jury to continue its deliberations, he brought the matter of the jurors notified with “excessive caution” to the attention of both sides. .
“If either party believes there is any relief they seek based on the above, counsel should immediately initiate a joint conference call with the court to discuss whether further proceedings are appropriate,” Judge Rakoff wrote.
Ms Palin’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.