Court Bars Trump’s Legal Argument at Upcoming Carroll Defamation Trial


(Left) Former President Donald Trump disembarks his plane at Aberdeen Airport in Aberdeen, Scotland, on May 1, 2023. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images); (Right) Magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll arrives for her civil trial against former President Donald Trump at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, on May 8, 2023. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump are not permitted to make legal arguments to a jury assessing damages in a defamation lawsuit brought about by the judgment of a jury from the previous year that he did not rape a columnist in the mid-1990s, a New York court ruled late on Jan. 6.

After a jury found that President Trump sexually abused columnist E. Jean Carroll, but did not discover evidence that was adequate to decide that he raped her, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan announced the finding in an order issued before the trial that is set to take place on Jan. 16 to determine the amount of damages against President Trump.

In a speech he delivered on Jan. 6 in Iowa as front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in advance of the Jan. 15 primary election there, President Trump referred to the judge as a “radical Democrat” and made disparaging comments about Ms. Carroll for not speaking up at the time, if she was attacked.

“It was all made up,” he said.

Ms. Carroll, who is 80 years old, was awarded $5 million by a jury in May 2023. The jury came to the conclusion that President Trump had sexually harassed her in the changing room of a luxury department store in 1996 and then defamed her in 2022.

Ms. Carroll claimed that an encounter at a Bergdorf Goodman store across the street from Trump Tower was charming and entertaining—up until the events that came to be ruled an assault. President Trump did not attend the Manhattan trial where Ms. Carroll testified and continues to dispute her account of the events.

During the upcoming hearing, a jury will deliberate on whether damages should be awarded for statements President Trump made after last year’s verdict and in 2019 while he was in office. The former president’s comments came after Ms. Carroll made her first public statement about her claims from the mid-1990s in her 2019 memoir.

It was the attorneys for Ms. Carroll who had requested that the judge make the order. They argued that President Trump’s attorneys should not be permitted to confuse jurors this month about the verdict that was previously handed down by attempting to suggest that the previous jury did not believe President Trump’s actions rose to the level of rape.

The legal team is barred from pointing out that the jury found President Trump liable for sexual abuse in their May 2023 verdict.

In their statement, they argued that the jury’s verdict reflected their opinion that President Trump had assaulted Ms. Carroll without her consent, and while the interaction was sexual assault, it does not constitute rape according to the laws of the state of New York.

The attorneys representing Ms. Carroll stated that the “sting of the defamation was Mr. Trump’s assertions that Ms. Carroll’s charge of sexual abuse was an entirely untruthful fabrication and one made up for improper or even nefarious reasons.”

Their statement came in response to President Trump’s comments.

During the trial, Ms. Carroll requested $10 million in compensatory damages and a significant amount of additional punitive penalties. President Trump is currently listed as a witness, and Ms. Carroll is also scheduled to testify. The trial is anticipated to last about one week.

In the meantime, President Trump has entered a plea of not guilty to the criminal charges that are contained within four unrelated indictments.

Two of these indictments accuse him of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Additionally, there is a case involving classified documents and allegations that he assisted in arranging a payoff to adult film star Stormy Daniels in order to silence her prior to the 2016 presidential election.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times


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