Sarah Palin Forces Former NYT Editor To Take The Stand In Defamation Suit

On Tuesday, the former editor of the New York Times editorial section, James Bennet, is taking the witness stand in Sarah Palin’s New York Times lawsuit. Bennet is being sued along with the paper by Sarah Palin for defamation.

The trial began last week on February 3rd in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The claim of defamation is over an opinion piece titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” which was published by the New York Times editorial board in 2017 after the congressional baseball shooting. In the article, they linked a map by Sarah Palin’s political action committee to the 2011 shooting of 13 people, including Rep. Gabby Giffords.

Last Friday, emails were released proving that the editors deliberately ignored the mistake they made in the article. The article claimed that Palin’s map was released “before” the shooting, not specifying that the map was released months before the shooting. However, the Times asserted that a correction was issued hours after the article was published.

Eileen Lepping, a New York Times fact-checker, said in court Monday that the error in the article was due to a “combination of things,” claiming that she had to rush to meet the deadline before publishing.

Lepping testified, “I did the best of my ability in the time that I had.”

When asked in court who is primarily responsible for the mistake, Lepping said, “the writer.”

The writer is Elizabeth Williamson who testified last week that the map was intended “as an example of that vile political climate that we were talking about.”

While speaking of Bennet in court, Williamson said, “I had gotten off the phone with James and he was obviously crestfallen that this had happened.”

“I was just kind of feeling for him and thinking about what I could have done so that this mistake didn’t happen,” she added.

In her testimony, she claimed Bennet emailed her saying, “I feel lousy about this one. I just moved too fast, I’m sorry.”

Follow on Twitter: @ChrisSchlak

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