The Palin v. NYT trial will be an "excruciating experience" for the paper

I reached out to renowned First Amendment attorney Ted Boutrous (full disclosure: Boutrous has represented CNN in previous cases) to ask him for his legal opinion of the case. He told me that he believes Palin “faces an enormously steep uphill battle” and “is likely to lose.”

Boutrous summarized his reading of the case like this: “I don’t think she can possibly prove that the newspaper or its journalists acted with actual malice or that she suffered any harm from the original version of the editorial, which was quickly clarified and corrected. This lawsuit has always seemed to me to be part of a disturbing trend in recent years of high-profile political figures misusing libel suits as political stunts intended to chill speech on matters of public concern — exactly what the First Amendment forbids.”

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s chief legal analyst, also agreed that Palin is likely to lose in trial. But he stressed that doesn’t mean it’s going to be rainbows and unicorns for The Times in court. “Even though I expect The Times will ultimately win this case, the trial is likely to be an excruciating experience for everyone associated with it at The Times,” Toobin told me. “Because the simple fact is the story was wrong. And no journalist wants to be in a position of defending a story that was wrong.”