Former Alaska Republican governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday as the conservative leader prepared to begin a trial with The New York Times over a defamation lawsuit.
The announcement was made by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, who is presiding over the case, according to a Reuters report.
Palin is reportedly unvaccinated. It is unclear whether she is showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
The report noted Palin will take another test later on Monday to determine whether the trial will be delayed.
“The trial before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff marks a rare instance of a major media company defending its editorial practices before an American jury. Opening statements could take place as soon as Monday, following jury selection,” Reuters noted in an earlier report. “Palin bears the high burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence that there was ‘actual malice’ involved in the newspaper’s editorial writing process.”
Palin sued the publication over allegations of being defamed in 2017 by an editorial that linked a political action committee ad to a 2011 shooting that included serious injuries to then-Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords and killed six others.
“At issue is the elasticity of the protections that allow news organizations to present tough coverage of public figures,” The Washington Post reported on Friday.
“Or, to put things a bit more sharply, the case will help demarcate the line between really bad journalism and libelous journalism,” the report added.
“It has been 58 years since the Supreme Court adopted the ‘actual malice’ standard in the landmark decision New York Times v. Sullivan, making it difficult for public figures to win libel suits,” Axios reported on Sunday.
“Two current justices, conservatives Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, have suggested revisiting that standard. Palin has signaled in court papers she’ll challenge Sullivan on appeal if she loses at trial,” Axios added.
The Daily Wire previously reported regarding Palin’s case against the Times heading to court:
U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff on Tuesday set January 24 as the selection date for jurors in the case to be set in Manhattan, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Palin is represented by a legal team led by Shane Vogt at Bajo Cuva Cohen Turkel while The New York Times is being handled by a team including David A. Schulz at Ballard Spahr,” according to the report.
“The initial version of the 2017 Times editorial said it was ‘clear’ that the 2011 shooting was linked to a map Palin’s political action committee released that included crosshairs over Giffords’ Tucson district. However, no such link has ever been established. The shooter … was found to be mentally ill and was sentenced to life in prison in 2012,” Politico reported in 2020.
The Times later corrected the wording, but Palin pursued the legal suit, claiming the outlet should be held responsible for the false claim.
The case was originally turned down in 2017. In 2019, a federal appeals court ruled the case could proceed under Judge Rakoff.