Sarah Palin Tests Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of NY Times Defamation Trial

The trial may be put on hold pending results of a second COVID test

Sarah Palin
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According to the judge overseeing the trial for Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times, proceedings may be pushed back due to the former governor’s recent positive COVID-19 test.

Per Reuters, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff revealed on Monday that Palin had tested positive. He said he found out about her diagnosis Sunday night and the former vice presidential candidate will be taking a second test to confirm her status. He added, “She is, of course, unvaccinated.”

The trial was slated to begin Monday. Her Monday retest will determine whether jury selection can begin later in the day or the trial should be adjourned. In that case, the likely start date is Feb. 3, according to Reuters.

Palin has repeatedly made it clear she is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and has no plans to get vaccinated.

“It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” she said at a Turning Point USA event in December. In September of last year, she pointed to her own previous infection with the virus as a reason she believes she has increased immunity and, thus, does not need the vaccine.

The former politician and reality star’s suit against the times was dismissed in 2017 by Rakoff, but was resurrected by a federal appeals court in 2019.

When Rakoff dismissed the suit in 2017, he wrote in his ruling that Palin did not demonstrate that the Times showed actual malice against her when publishing an editorial that mistakenly connected one of her political action committees to the 2011 shooting that wounded then-Arizona Congressman Gabrielle Giffords. The Times later added a correction to the editorial. In her lawsuit, Palin alleges the paper falsely accused her of inciting the near-fatal shooting of Giffords.

At the time the suit was reinstated, a New York Times spokesperson told TheWrap, “We are disappointed in the decision and intend to continue to defend the action vigorously.”