Court Battles

Palin defamation trial against NY Times delayed after COVID-19 test


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) defamation trial against The New York Times, scheduled to begin Monday, has been postponed after she tested positive for COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who is presiding over the defamation case in Manhattan, said the trial will be rescheduled to Feb. 3 if Palin has recovered from the coronavirus by then, The Associated Press reported.

Rakoff said on Monday that he was informed that Palin tested positive after a rapid antigen test and noted that “she is, of course, unvaccinated.”

He added that Palin, 57, retested on Monday and following the test results, saying, “since she has tested positive three times, I’m going to assume she’s positive,” according to the AP. She previously contracted the coronavirus in March 2021.

According to The Washington Post, when Rakoff put forward alternative trial plans, Palin’s lawyers noted that she wants to present for jury selection and that “she wants to testify live.”

The defamation case was set to be heard in a Manhattan federal court on Monday. The former GOP vice presidential candidate claims that the newspaper and its former editorial page editor, James Bennet, defamed her in a June 2017 editorial.

That editorial erroneously 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.

She said last year that she would not get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“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.”


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