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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sues New York Times for defamation

NEW YORK — Former Alaska Gov. and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin filed a lawsuit against the New York Times on Tuesday, alleging a recent editorial falsely portrayed her as responsible for inciting the 2011 shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords.

“Today, Sarah Palin took a stand against The New York Times Company by filing a lawsuit which seeks to hold The Times accountable for stating that Governor Palin is part of a ‘sickeningly familiar pattern’ of politically motivated violence and that she incited the horrific 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords,” lawyers for Palin said in a statement.

Palin is seeking more than $75,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit.

The Times editorial, published in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise earlier this month, accused Palin of “political incitement” ahead of the 2011 Giffords shooting, the lawsuit says.

The editorial wrongly claimed an ad from Palin’s political action committee put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs,” according to the lawsuit.

The Times issued a correction a day later, noting “no such link was established” between Palin’s ad and the shooting, and that the ad in question “depicted electoral districts, not individual Democratic lawmakers, beneath stylized cross hairs.”

Still, the Times said the error did not “undercut or weaken the argument of the piece.”

Palin’s lawyers say otherwise. In the lawsuit, they claim “the Times conduct was committed knowingly, intentionally, willfully, wantonly and maliciously, with the intent to harm Mrs. Palin, or in blatant disregard of the substantial likelihood of causing her harm, thereby entitling Mrs. Palin to an award of punitive damages.”

A Times spokesman said the paper intended to defend itself against Palin’s claims.

“We have not reviewed the claim yet but will defend against any claim vigorously,” the spokesman said.