Ms. Palin said in the lawsuit that the editorial contradicted other articles in The Times that dismissed the idea that political rhetoric had incited the rampage. âThe Times had ample facts available that established that there was no connection between Mrs. Palin and Loughnerâs crime,â she said.
The Times filed a motion to dismiss the case in July.
Earlier this month, Judge Rakoff had ordered the author of the editorial to testify in an unusual evidentiary hearing, saying that a central question he would consider when weighing The Timesâs motion was whether Ms. Palinâs defamation complaint contained âsufficient allegations of actual malice.â
The âactual maliceâ standard for defamation holds that public officials have to show that news outlets knowingly published false information or had acted with âreckless disregardâ for the truth.
James Bennet, the editor of The Times editorial page, testified on Aug. 16 that he had not intended to blame Ms. Palin for the 2011 shooting. Instead, he said, he was trying to make a point about the heated political environment.
In his ruling, Judge Rakoff said that the behavior of Mr. Bennet, who introduced the statements in question during the editing process, was âmuch more plausibly consistent with making an unintended mistake and then correcting it than with acting with actual malice.â
âNowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States,â Judge Rakoff wrote. âBut if political journalism is to achieve its constitutionally endorsed role of challenging…