NEWS FROM SARAH PALIN’S LIBEL SUIT AGAINST THE TIMES: NY Times editorial writer: ‘I didn’t mean to suggest that Loughner wasn’t responsible.’

We now know who wrote the NY Times editorial that led Sarah Palin to sue the paper for defamation. A first draft was written by editorial writer Elizabeth Williamson. However, the offensive part connecting Palin to the 2011 Tucson shooting was added in a rewrite by editorial page editor James Bennet. Bennet testified Tuesday in a hearing the judge ordered to help him decide whether or not to dismiss the lawsuit as lawyers for the NY Times have requested. During the hearing, Bennet claimed he didn’t mean to draw a direct connection between Palin and mass murder.

Well, it kinda did. John Sexton comments: “So, the best case scenario here is that the editor of the NY Times editorial page is both ignorant of the facts and incapable of crafting clear sentences. Hopefully, Judge Rakoff isn’t falling for his act. He said he will rule on the motion to dismiss before the end of the month.”

For thoughts on Judge Rakoff’s “highly unusual” step of holding an evidentiary hearing on a motion to dismiss, see this post by InstaPundit co-blogger — and international media and libel law authority — Charles Glasser.