Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, New York Times defamation trial delayed

Former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin has tested positive for COVID-19
Former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin has tested positive for COVID-19. Photo credit Kris Connor/Getty Images
By , 1010 WINS

Sarah Palin tested positive for COVID-19 just as her defamation lawsuit against the New York Times was set to go to trial in Manhattan federal court on Monday, forcing the trial's postponement until early February.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who is presiding over the trial, revealed Palin’s positive test in court on Monday morning.

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“She is, of course, unvaccinated,” Rakoff said when announcing the result of an at-home test that Palin took.

Palin, the former Alaskan governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, completed a rapid test on Monday morning that also came back positive, according to her lawyer.

“Since she has tested positive three times, I'm going to assume she's positive," Rakoff said.

The judge said the trial can begin Feb. 3 if Palin has adequately recovered by then. Courthouse rules would permit her to return to court on that date—even if she still tests positive—as long as she has no symptoms.

If she does have symptoms, she can be looked at on Feb. 2 by a doctor who provides services to the courts, Rakoff said.

Palin, who said last month she’d get a COVID-19 vaccine “over my dead body,” previously tested positive for the virus in March 2021.

Palin, 57, brought the lawsuit against the Times in 2017. Her case survived an initial dismissal that was reversed on appeal in 2019, setting the stage for a rare instance that a major news organization will have to defend itself before a jury in a libel case involving a major public figure.

Palin claims the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece penned by its editorial board that falsely asserted her political rhetoric helped incite the 2011 shooting of then-Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords.

The newspaper has conceded the initial wording of the editorial was flawed, but not in an intentional or reckless way that made it libelous.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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