"Unvaccinated" Sarah Palin Tested Positive For COVID-19 Right Before Her Defamation Trial Against The New York Times, A Judge Said
The former Alaska governor, who also got COVID last March, has said she would rather die than get vaccinated.
Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has tested positive for COVID-19, delaying the start of her defamation trial against the New York Times that was set to begin Monday.
The news, first reported by Reuters, was announced in court by US District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York.
Palin initially tested positive on a rapid at-home test on Sunday night, the judge said.
"She is, of course, unvaccinated," Rakoff added, after announcing the results of Palin's first test.
The judge asked Palin to get retested on Monday. She tested positive again after taking a rapid test at an urgent care center, according to New York Law Journal reporter Jane Wester.
Rakoff delayed the trial until Feb. 3, as long as the former governor is not symptomatic on that date.
Palin, who disclosed that she, along with some of her other family members, had COVID last March, has openly railed against coronavirus vaccines. At a rally for right-wing group Turning Point USA last December, Palin said that she would rather die before getting a COVID vaccine.
"It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” she said. “I will not do that. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids either.”
On Monday evening, Palin confirmed that she tested positive during an appearance on Fox News, saying her diagnosis had been confirmed that morning.
"It is what it is," she said. "I feel absolutely normal. Yup."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Palin's lawyers for comment.
Palin sued the New York Times in 2017 over an editorial that she argued falsely linked gun violence to political rhetoric from a pro-Palin political action committee (PAC). The piece suggested that a map circulated by the PAC, which showed crosshairs over the districts of Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act, was connected to the 2011 shooting of then–member of Congress Gabby Giffords.
The New York Times issued a correction three days later, saying that despite the editorial's claim, "no such link was established" and that they had misinterpreted the map, believing that it was targeting representatives and not districts.
Rakoff initially dismissed the case on Aug. 29, 2017, but Palin's lawyers successfully fought for two years to have it appealed. A three-judge panel of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals sent the defamation suit back to the lower court on Aug. 6, 2019.
"We find that the district court erred in relying on facts outside the pleadings to dismiss the complaint," the decision stated. "We further conclude that Palin’s Proposed Amended Complaint plausibly states a claim for defamation and may proceed to full discovery."
Although many federal cases are currently being held via remote teleconference because of the pandemic, Palin's lawyers said that she wants to testify in open court.