Besides the obvious, what do Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani have in common? They’ve both appeared on a teevee show that I’ve never seen, The Masked Singer. Palin’s appearance was in 2020 and Rudy’s episode is upcoming despite the horrified reaction of judges Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke. We have the proof in Palin’s case, and I reused the New Yorker cartoon depicting Rudy as Pagliacci to round out our show biz theme.
It felt like 2008 this week as Palin and Giuliani were back in the news. Since this is a Legal Docket post, I originally had a picture of the late Justice William Brennan as the featured image, but it was too dignified. Clowns like Palin and Giuliani don’t deserve to be in Brennan’s company. Why Bill Brennan? He wrote the majority opinion in the landmark libel case New York Times v. Sullivan.
Palin is in the news because she’s on the verge of losing her libel case against the
Failing New York Times. I’ve been avidly following Seth Stevenson’s dispatches in Slate and he was as surprised as I was when the judge dropped a bombshell:
Then a little before 3 p.m. on Monday, with the jury still deliberating in its chamber, Judge Rakoff suddenly summoned the litigants to the courtroom. And he informed them that he’d assessed the evidence the same way I had. “I think this is an example of very unfortunate editorializing on the part of the Times,” Rakoff said, but it just didn’t meet the “very high standard” required to prove actual malice. Even if he viewed Palin’s claims in the most favorable light possible, he said, he couldn’t imagine that a reasonable juror could find that Palin had met the actual malice burden. He said he’d wait to see what this jury does. But if they came back with a verdict in favor of Palin, Rakoff promised, he’d throw it out.
This is some weird shit by the judge. Ordinarily, a judge will throw a case out after closing arguments or the jury’s verdict not before. Judge Rakoff clearly expects any ruling to be appealed by Plaintiff Palin. Who doesn’t?
I’ve long thought that the case was filed for two reasons:
- To give a has-been politician some attention. Flouncing about in a silly costume is not enough for the 2008 GOP Veep candidate.
- To lose and appeal it all the way to SCOTUS. This case was always a loser as it lacked evidence of actual malice.
Why #2? Justices Bro and Gorsuch are on the record as disliking Sullivan. And Thomas and Alito hate every Warren Court precedent that’s still standing. Stay tuned.
Before leaving the Sarah part of our show, a libel movie poster:
On to our second act.
Here's Rudy! pic.twitter.com/RW3B7qYALb
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) November 8, 2020
When he was former President* Pennywise’s volunteer lawyer, Rudy Giuliani dangled pardons in front of convicted and indicted Trumpers. Now Giuliani’s lawyer is dangling cooperation with the Dipshit Insurrection Committee. Is it genuine? It’s hard to imagine Rudy testifying without immunity. The man was up to his neck in the coup plot but immunity is out of fashion since the Oliver North mishigas during the Iran-Contra scandal.
It’s more likely that Giuliani wants the Impeached Insult Comedian to pay his legal bills. It’s known that Rudy made a run at Donald for money earlier and was rebuffed. It’s also known that Rudy is broke, broke, broke.
Repeat after me: Loyalty with Donald Trump is always a one-way street.
Giuliani came to public attention as a mob prosecutor, so he knows how a shakedown works. That’s what’s happening here. The consigliere wants his don to pay his legal bills thereby buying his silence. Stay tuned.
The last word goes to Bob Seger with a souped-up song from the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack: