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Sarah Palin Sues New York Times for Libel

The former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate claims Times editorial falsely accused her of inciting the shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Sarah Palin, former running mate of GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times on Tuesday, saying the paper falsely accused her of inciting the near-fatal shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

“Mrs. Palin brings this action to hold The Times accountable for defaming her by publishing a statement about her that it knew to be false: that Mrs. Palin was responsible for inciting a mass shooting at a political event in January 2011,” the lawsuit obtained by TheWrap states.

Palin’s lawsuit alleges that the Times June 14 editorial “falsely” reported that she “incited Jared Loughner’s Jan. 8, 2011, shooting rampage” in Arizona where Loughner shot 19 people, including the severely wounded Democratic congresswoman Giffords.

Palin, a Republican, also claims that the Times editorial incorrectly reported that her political action committee circulated “a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.”

On June 15 and 16, the Times published two different corrections of its editorial, ultimately saying that there was no link between the Palin mailing and the Loughner shooting, and saying that the Palin PAC mailing placed cross-hairs on voting districts, not individual elected officials, according to Palin’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit also claims that the Times editorial board ignored news reports by its own reporters as well as staff columnists that stated that there was no link between Loughner and the Palin PAC mailings, and that Loughner acted because he was severely mentally ill.

Palin filed the lawsuit in New York federal court and seeks unspecified amount of damages.

The New York Times did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. However, the Washington Post reported that a spokeswoman for the New York Times said: “We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.