NEW YORK (AP) — In an upcoming trial to determine damages in a defamation case, former President Donald Trump’s legal team will not be allowed to use a previous civil jury’s decision regarding a sexual abuse allegation made against him. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan granted a request by E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers to bar Trump’s team from referencing the earlier trial, which concluded that Trump had sexually abused Carroll but did not determine whether it met the legal definition of rape.
The defamation trial, scheduled to begin on January 16, will focus on the amount of money Trump owes Carroll for his comments calling her accusation “totally false” in 2019. Last year, Kaplan ruled that the trial would skip to determining damages, as the comments were considered “substantially the same” as the remarks at the center of a previous defamation claim won by Carroll against Trump.
According to Kaplan, the conclusion of the earlier trial, where Trump was found liable for defamation, is not relevant to the upcoming proceedings. He stated that the specific details of the sexual abuse allegation do not impact the harm caused by the defamatory statements. Introducing this matter would only serve to confuse the jury and waste time.
During the previous trial, the jury awarded Carroll $5 million for battery and defamation, but did not find Trump liable for rape. However, Kaplan later expressed the opinion that Trump’s actions could be described as rape in the common understanding of the term. Trump’s lawyers have unsuccessfully attempted to delay the second trial, seeking additional time for consideration after a failed argument based on presidential immunity. A federal appeals court recently denied their request without providing further explanation.
In the lead-up to the trial, Trump took to social media platform Truth Social to express his frustration, publishing multiple posts attacking Carroll and criticizing Judge Kaplan’s alleged bias. The trial is expected to draw significant attention as it continues to unfold.
In summary, a judge has ruled that Donald Trump’s legal team cannot use a previous jury decision in an upcoming defamation trial involving E. Jean Carroll. The trial will solely focus on determining the damages Trump owes Carroll for his comments denying her sexual assault accusation. The previous jury found Trump liable for defamation but did not reach a verdict on the rape allegation. Trump’s attempts to delay the trial have been unsuccessful, while his social media activity has further sparked controversy around the case.