A long-awaited libel lawsuit brought by Sarah Palin against The New York Times will be delayed until Feb. 3 because the former Alaska governor tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the trial’s start.
Palin’s diagnosis initially came via a rapid test taken over the weekend. A follow-up test Monday also came back positive, resulting in the delay. While the court sought a more accurate PCR test for Palin, her lawyer says she was “confused” by the lines at a testing facility Monday morning and ended up taking a rapid test instead.
“Ms. Palin has tested positive for coronavirus,” U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff told the court Monday. “She is, of course, unvaccinated.”
Rakoff proposed moving forward with jury selection in Palin’s absence, an option that her attorney declined, according to court reporter Frank Runyeon.
Palin also refused to participate remotely via Zoom. If she is still testing positive next week, it could result in the trial being delayed by several months.
Palin has gotten COVID at least once before, in March 2021. That bout wasn’t enough to convince her to get vaccinated, however. At a rally last month in Phoenix, she said she would get vaccinated “over my dead body.”
“It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” Palin told the crowd, days after the U.S. passed 800,000 confirmed COVID deaths. “I will not do that. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids either.”
The former Republican vice presidential nominee is suing the Times over a 2017 editorial that suggested Palin’s political rhetoric was to blame for a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that killed six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.