Court Battles

Palin tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of New York Times trial

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday ahead of her defamation trial against The New York Times, Reuters reported

Palin’s defamation case was set to be heard in a Manhattan federal court on Monday. She claims that the newspaper and its former editorial page editor, James Bennet, defamed her in an opinion piece.

Reuters added that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who is presiding over the defamation case in Manhattan, said Palin tested positive after a rapid antigen test on Monday. He noted that “she is of course unvaccinated.”

Rakoff said Palin, 57, will be getting retested on Monday to determine whether her trial can proceed at the stipulated start date. He reportedly added the result was from the “at-home test whose reliability was lower than tests administered at the courthouse and required for the trial.”

The results will determine “whether the trial can proceed the same day or will be delayed,” Rakoff said, according to the news service.

However, Reuters added that “it is likely” the trial will be delayed to Feb. 3.

Washington Post staff writer Sarah Ellison tweeted that Palin’s lawyers noted that she wants to “be here for jury selection” and that “she wants to testify live,” making it likely that the trial will be delayed if her PCR results come back positive.

The former vice presidential candidate has accused the Times of defaming her in a June 2017 editorial. 

That editorial incorrectly drew a link between her political action committee and the 2011 mass shooting at an Arizona parking lot that left six people dead and former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) critically wounded.

The Times corrected the editorial, saying it had incorrectly stated a link existed between political rhetoric and the 2011 shooting.

Palin is seeking unspecified damages and about $421,000 in damage to her reputation.

Palin had previously said that she would not get the coronavirus vaccine.

“It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” Palin said in 2021. “I will not do that. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids either.”

She previously contracted the coronavirus in March 2021 and confirmed her COVID-19 diagnosis in an interview with People magazine.

After preliminarily testing negative in March last year, Palin described later developing COVID-19 symptoms “overnight” and suffering a fever, muscle soreness and loss of taste and smell.

Updated at 11:39 a.m.

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