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Palin tests positive for Covid ahead of New York Times trial

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Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit against the New York Times was thrown into limbo Monday after the judge announced that the former Alaska governor had tested positive for Covid-19 prior to the beginning of the day’s proceedings

Judge Jed Rakoff said he was informed over the weekend that Palin, who the judge noted is unvaccinated, tested positive and that she is receiving an additional test Monday morning, with results expected by midday. In December, Palin said at a conservative event that she would get vaccinated “over my dead body,” and previously tested positive for Covid-19 in March 2021.

If Palin’s test comes back positive, the judge said he would push back the trial until at least early February. While the court awaited the results, Rakoff began working through a set of pretrial motions.

Palin filed suit against the Times over a 2017 editorial that falsely tied her political activities to the 2011 shooting that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and killed six people.

The newspaper corrected the editorial to say that no such connection was ever established, and the Times acknowledged it mischaracterized a map put out by Palin’s political action committee that had crosshairs placed over the districts of 20 Democrats, including Giffords’.

Palin sued less than two weeks after the editorial was first published, through the case has stretched on for years due to pandemic-related delays and legal wrangling. The case is being closely watched by media advocates for its potential ramifications on the First Amendment and the legal protections extended to journalists and others.

Jury selection is set to begin later Monday in federal court in New York City.


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