NEW YORK — Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys have been barred from presenting legal arguments to a jury assessing damages in a defamation trial. This comes after a jury last year concluded that Trump did not rape columnist E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan made the ruling on Saturday in preparation for a trial on January 16 to determine the damages in the defamation case.
The verdict from the previous trial found that Trump had sexually abused Carroll, but failed to find enough evidence to conclude that he had raped her. In response, Trump criticized the judge, labeling him a “radical Democrat,” and also mocked Carroll for not screaming during the alleged attack.
Carroll, who is 80 years old, was awarded $5 million in damages by a jury in May of last year. They concluded that Trump had sexually abused her in 1996 in a dressing room at a luxury department store, and had defamed her in 2022. Trump did not attend the trial in Manhattan, where Carroll testified that their encounter at Bergdorf Goodman had started out flirtatious and fun, until he forcefully attacked her.
In the upcoming trial, the jury will determine whether damages should be imposed on Trump for his remarks following last year’s verdict, as well as comments he made in 2019 while he was still president. Carroll’s lawyers argued that Trump’s attorneys should not be allowed to confuse the jurors by trying to claim that the jury disbelieved Carroll’s rape allegation. They argued that the jury’s findings showed that Trump had digitally penetrated Carroll’s vagina without consent, which does not constitute rape in New York but does in other jurisdictions.
Carroll is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages, along with unspecified punitive damages. Both Carroll and Trump are expected to testify during the trial, which is projected to last around a week.
In summary, former President Donald Trump’s attorneys have been prohibited from presenting legal arguments in a defamation trial that stems from a jury’s conclusion that he did not rape columnist E. Jean Carroll. The trial will determine the damages in the defamation case, and Carroll is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages. Trump and Carroll will both testify in the trial, which is set to begin on January 16.