Sarah Palin to subpoena two dozen New York Times staffers in lawsuit

Sarah Palin is planning to subpoena almost two dozen New York Times staffers as part of her defamation lawsuit against the newspaper.

In a motion arguing for the case to be dismissed, attorneys for The New York Times said that Palin’s lawyers had served notice that she plans to subpoena “23 non-party current and former Times reporters, editors and other employees -- most of whom had nothing to do with the editorial issue,” according to court documents the New York Post obtained Wednesday.

Palin’s legal team also reportedly plans to ask the Times to produce “every internal communication it has had about her since 2011,” in an effort to obtain “documents that might reveal, among other things, their ‘negative feelings’ toward her,” the Times reportedly told the judge on Wednesday. 

The former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate is suing the Times after the newspaper published an editorial on June 14, hours after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot and wounded at a Republican congressional baseball practice. Palin claims that the editorial tied her to the January 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The editorial, attributed to the Times’ editorial board and titled “America’s Lethal Politics,” initially linked Palin’s rhetoric to the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.

The Times posted a correction the following day, admitting that “no such link was established.”

'The Times used its false assertion about Mrs. Palin as an artifice to exploit the [Scalise] shooting.'

- Palin's attorneys, in lawsuit

The editorial also claimed, incorrectly, that a now-infamous ad from Palin’s political action committee put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs.” The Times also corrected that statement, admitting that the crosshairs on the map targeted “electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers.”

“The Times used its false assertion about Mrs. Palin as an artifice to exploit the [Scalise] shooting,” Palin’s attorneys stated in the lawsuit.

“The Times published and promoted its editorial board’s column despite knowing…the false assertion that Mrs. Palin incited [Tucson shooter Jared] Loughner to murder six people,” the suit added. “In doing so, the Times violated the law and its own policies.” 

The New York Times has reportedly claimed that Palin has no case because she cannot claim malice, which is the legal standard for claiming defamation.  

Asked for comment on Thursday, a New York Times spokesperson told Fox News: "We raised our concern about the subpoenas in a section of the brief that quotes Judge Robert Bork as saying 'a freshening stream of libel actions, which often seem as much designed to punish writers and publications as to recover damages for real injuries, may threaten the public and constitutional interest in free, and frequently rough, discussion.'"

The representative then referred to an earlier response to the suit, saying: "It is agonizing to get something wrong, but as soon as our editors become aware of the error, they corrected it. We are confident that the First Amendment protects publishers in these circumstances, and we intend to defend the action vigorously."