Judge Kaplan’s Unyielding Control in Trump Defamation Trial Sets Stage for Dramatic Showdown

New York City, New York – In the high-stakes world of presidential trials, few judges can match the respected reputation of Lewis A. Kaplan. With decades of experience on the bench, Kaplan possesses a unique background that could make Donald Trump’s recent behavior in the courtroom potentially perilous for the former president. At 79, Kaplan is regarded as one of the most esteemed legal minds in New York.

Currently, Trump is facing a civil case filed by writer E. Jean Carroll, who is seeking damages from him for defamation. Trump had previously made disparaging remarks denying allegations of sexual assault made by Carroll years ago. The trial has the potential to become an intense courtroom spectacle, as Trump has claimed his intention to testify on Monday. However, it remains to be seen whether Trump will actually appear, considering his past record of making similar claims and not following through. Additionally, Tuesday coincides with the New Hampshire primary, where Trump is once again running for president.

Legal experts assert that if Trump does take the stand, it could prove to be a self-destructive decision. Kaplan, known for his intolerance of disruptive behavior, is not likely to tolerate any outbursts or unprofessional conduct from Trump. The former president himself has criticized Kaplan on social media, calling him “totally biased and hostile.” Trump has argued that he lost a previous lawsuit involving Carroll because he did not personally appear in court – a lawsuit which Kaplan presided over as well.

Trump’s recent courtroom appearances have raised concerns among legal experts, who warn that he is attempting to turn his trials into campaign stops. In this particular trial, Trump has expressed his objections out of turn and openly criticized the proceedings. These actions could potentially lead to humiliation for Trump if he does the same on the witness stand in Kaplan’s courtroom, and he could even face contempt of court charges.

Robert Katzberg, an experienced New York white-collar criminal defense lawyer, emphasized that Kaplan is a challenging judge for Trump. Katzberg noted that Kaplan expects lawyers to be professional and adhere to the rules, and he holds them accountable when they fall short. Trump lacks relevant facts in this case, and his inability to control his emotions may prove to be his downfall.

Kaplan has a unique history when it comes to dealing with contempt of court. In 2019, he sought to charge lawyer Steven Donziger with criminal contempt after Donziger refused to provide access to his communications. When prosecutors declined, Kaplan appointed a private law firm to prosecute Donziger, which ultimately led to his conviction and a jail sentence.

During the recent trial, Kaplan reprimanded Trump when he engaged in disruptive behavior and denigrated Carroll. Kaplan warned Trump that he could be excluded from the trial if he continued his disruptive conduct. In response, Trump animatedly expressed his disagreement. Kaplan’s authority in the courtroom was also evident in his interactions with Trump’s lead lawyer, Alina Habba. Habba, who has limited trial experience and also serves as a publicist for Trump, often incurred Kaplan’s wrath for her lack of familiarity with proper procedures and rules.

Kaplan’s strict control of the proceedings sets him apart from other judges. In a nearby state courthouse, Judge Arthur Engoron showed more permissiveness toward Trump and his defense team during a civil case involving accusations of business fraud. In contrast, Kaplan immediately shut down similar efforts during last week’s trial.

As the trial continues, Kaplan’s unwavering commitment to the rules and his no-nonsense approach will be on full display. The courtroom showdown between Trump and Carroll promises to be a dramatic and potentially pivotal moment in both their lives.