Judge blocks Palin lawyers from questioning NYT reporters in defamation suit

Judge blocks Palin lawyers from questioning NYT reporters in defamation suit
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A Manhattan federal judge has suspended discovery in a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times filed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), who is accusing the paper of writing an erroneous editorial that connected her to the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) that left six people dead.  

In suspending discovery, Judge Jed Rakoff prevents Palin’s lawyers for now from questioning 23 New York Times reporters in an effort to prove the paper is biased against her.

Rakoff said he'll rule by the end of the month whether Palin's suit against the Times can proceed.

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The Times says it made an “honest mistake” with the Palin editorial and is asking the court to throw out the lawsuit.

The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee filed the suit against the Times in June, alleging defamation. 

The case concerns an opinion piece written by the paper's editorial board that directly linked the 2011 shooting of Giffords to a political ad publicized by Palin. The ad put Democratic districts up for reelection in a logo symbolizing crosshairs. 

The court filing cites Palin claiming the newspaper wrongly accused her of "inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011."

The 53-year-old mother of five also said in court papers that the paper intentionally printed information that it "knew to be false."

"In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Rep. Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl," the Times editorial board wrote in the piece published on June 14. "At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right."
 
"Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map that showed the targeted electoral districts of Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs," it continued. 
 
The editorial came one day after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot along with four others at a congressional baseball practice in Virginia. 

After blowback, which included PolitiFact giving the paper a "false" rating for linking Palin to the Giffords shooting, the Times issued a correction but did not retract the editorial. 

"An editorial on Thursday about the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise incorrectly stated that a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords," the correction read. "In fact, no such link was established."

"The editorial also incorrectly described a map distributed by a political action committee before that shooting. It depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized cross hairs," it added. 

Palin’s lawyers are seeking “documents that might reveal, among other things, their negative feelings’ toward her," according to the papers filed.

Her legal team is the same as the one that represented professional wrestler Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, against Gawker Media in a defamation suit after the publication posted a sex tape of the wrestler. 
 
Hogan, 63, won the suit, and Gawker has since gone out of business after declaring bankruptcy.