July 8, 2017
Lawyers representing former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Friday for an initial hearing in Palin’s lawsuit against the New York Times for defamation, following the Times’ editorial accusing the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee of inciting violence.
The Times ran an editorial on June 14 of this year following the attempted assassination at a Virginia baseball field that left Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) critically injured. In that editorial, the newspaper accused Palin of inciting violence when her political action committee circulated a map with cross-hairs in various places, talking about “targeting” certain Democratic races in an upcoming election.
Inciting violence is a serious matter. In fact, it can be a crime under both state and federal law.
State laws vary, but incitement basically consists of (1) encouraging an individual to commit a violent act, and (2) under circumstances that a reasonable person would think is likely to produce the violent act — in other words, that there is a good chance that the person receiving the encouragement will act upon it.
Under federal law, again depending on the facts, inciting violence could run afoul of 18 U.S.C. § 373, solicitation to commit a crime of violence, or 18 U.S.C. § 2102, which is inciting a riot.
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