Defamation Trial: Trump’s Lawyers Barred from Arguing Columnist’s Rape Claim before Jury

New York – Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers will not be allowed to present legal arguments to a jury assessing damages at a defamation trial this month. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan made this ruling in advance of the trial on January 16. The defamation trial follows a jury’s conclusion last year that Trump sexually abused columnist E. Jean Carroll, though they did not find sufficient evidence to support her claim of rape.

The decision by Judge Kaplan means that the upcoming trial will focus solely on determining the amount of damages to be awarded to Carroll. Trump, who is currently the frontrunner for the Republican presidential candidacy, criticized the judge during a campaign event in Iowa. He referred to the judge as a “radical Democrat” and dismissed Carroll’s allegations as fabricated.

Carroll, an 80-year-old columnist, was awarded $5 million by a jury in May 2022. The jury concluded that Trump sexually abused her in 1996 in a luxury department store dressing room and defamed her in 2022. However, Trump did not attend the trial, and he has consistently denied Carroll’s accusations.

In the upcoming trial, the jury will consider whether additional damages should be levied against Trump for his remarks following last year’s verdict. Carroll’s lawyers argued that Trump’s attorneys should not be allowed to confuse the jurors by disputing the credibility of Carroll’s rape claim. They emphasized that the jury’s conclusion was based on Trump having forcibly and non-consensually digitally penetrated Carroll, which constitutes rape in some jurisdictions but not under New York state law.

Carroll is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages, as well as unspecified punitive damages. Both she and Trump will testify as witnesses during the trial, which is expected to last about a week. Meanwhile, Trump faces criminal charges in four indictments, including allegations of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and involvement in a payoff to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.

To recap, former President Donald Trump’s lawyers have been barred from presenting legal arguments in an upcoming defamation trial. The trial will solely focus on determining the amount of damages to be awarded to columnist E. Jean Carroll. Carroll accused Trump of sexual abuse, though the jury did not find sufficient evidence to support her claim of rape. Trump has denied the allegations, and he is also facing criminal charges in separate cases.