Former Governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is suing the New York Times for defamation over a recent editorial tying one of her political action committee ads to a 2011 mass shooting that severely wounded Arizona Democrat Gabby Giffords and killed six people, including a 9-year-old girl, The Post has learned.
The Manhattan federal court lawsuit, filed Tuesday by lawyers Kenneth Turkel, Shane Vogt and S. Preston Ricardo, accuses the Gray Lady of having “violated the law and its own policies” when it accused her — in a “fabricated story” — of inciting the 2011 attack by Jared Lee Loughner.
Palin, who emerged on the national political scene as running mate to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, is seeking damages in an amount to be determined by a jury at trial.
The lawsuit is in direct response to The Times’ controversial June 14th editorial about the shooting of Representative Steve Scalise paper, which accused Palin of “political incitement” ahead of the 2011 shooting.
The paper said Palin incited the shooting, which left congresswoman Gabby Giffords with a severe brain injury, through an ad from her PAC that put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”
In fact, the ad never put Giffords or any other individual in the cross hairs — forcing the newspaper of record to issue an embarrassing correction.
The correction, posted on June 16th, admitted that The Times “incorrectly described a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting.”
The map “depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized cross hairs,” the correction said.
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The Gray Lady’s correction also admitted that the editorial “incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords.”
“In fact, no such link was established,” the paper conceded.
“We have not seen the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously,” a spokeswoman for The Times told The Post.
It’s unclear whether the shooter ever saw or knew of Palin’s map.
Investigators later said Loughner, who is serving a 140-year sentence for the mass murder, became fixated on the lawmaker well before Palin entered the picture. He expressed frustration with Gifford as early as 2007 when he met her at a constituent event and felt she gave an unsatisfactory answer to a question he asked, according to reports.
“Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for falsely stating to millions of people that she, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, who committed a substantial portion of her adult life to public service, is part of a pattern of ’lethal’ politics and responsible for inciting an attack that seriously injured numerous people and killed six, including a nine-year-old girl who, at that time, was the same age as Mrs. Palin’s youngest daughter,” the lawsuit reads.
Palin’s lawsuit also blasted The Times for not having “acknowledged that Mrs. Palin did not incite a deranged man to commit murder.”
“The Times should have apologized to Mrs. Palin,” she added.
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