Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s lawyer on Friday released a trove of emails sent by members of The New York Times’ editorial board in the libel suit initiated by Palin against the company, the Daily Mail reported.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, filed a lawsuit four years ago arguing that the newspaper knowingly defamed her by falsely linking a Palin-affiliated political action committee to a 2011 Arizona shooting in the 2017 editorial “America’s Lethal Politics.”
The shooting, which occurred in Tucson, injured then-Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., and killed six — including District Chief Judge John Roll and a 9-year-old girl, according to CBS’ KOLD 13.
Palin’s attorney Shane Vogt unveiled the emails at trial Friday while questioning Times journalist Elizabeth Williamson.
One email to Williamson from Eileen Lepping, one of the paper’s fact-checkers, suggested she add the words “months before” to the original excerpt so as not to directly tie an advertisement by Palin’s political action committee to the shooting of Giffords.
Lepping’s advice, however, did not make it into the editorial.
Another email showed Jesse Wegman, a member of the Times editorial board, saying that he worried the opinion piece looked like the editorial board was trying to “sneak in” a link between Palin and the 2011 shooting.
Wegman then complained to his colleagues that the “gun rights brigade are having a seizure” over the editorial, which was published shortly after the 2017 shooting at the annual Congressional Baseball Game in Alexandria, Virginia, in which Steve Scalise, R-La., then house majority whip, was critically injured.
David Axelrod, an attorney for the Times, insisted that the paper had no desire to hurt Palin and removed the excerpt when it was made aware of the issue the next morning.