There was “sufficient evidence to allow a rational finder of fact to find actual malice by clear and convincing evidence,” Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan determined.
The judge set a trial date for Feb. 1.
Palin expressed her gratitude for the judge’s ruling, tweeting “Humbled and thankful.”
The Times expressed a different view.
“We’re disappointed in the ruling but are confident we will prevail at trial when a jury hears the facts,” a Times spokesperson said in a statement published in the paper’s own report on the ruling.
The former GOP vice-presidential candidate sued the Times for libel after a June 2017 editorial about the shooting of GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and others mentioned a map put out years earlier by SarahPAC that had crosshairs over different Democratic congressional districts. While the map had been used in reference to ObamaCare, the editorial connected it to Jared Loughner’s 2011 shooting of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., whose district was among those identified in the map.
The editorial said the SarahPAC map had Giffords and other Democrats under crosshairs (though the targets were over their districts).
In discussing the Scalise shooting, the Times said, “Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.”
The Times published a correction after receiving backlash for the editorial, noting that there was no link between the map and the shooting.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.