Jury Selection Begins in Defamation Trial as Donald Trump Seeks to Temporarily Suspend Proceedings

(New York) – The jury selection process began on Tuesday in a New York courtroom for a defamation trial involving former President Donald Trump. Trump had requested that the trial be suspended so he could attend the funeral of his mother-in-law, but the judge denied his request. The trial stems from a columnist’s claims that Trump sexually abused her in the 1990s.

During a heated exchange between Trump’s lawyers and Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, the denial was issued. The lawyers argued over evidence in the case, Trump’s desire to attend the funeral, and whether the trial should proceed at all. This phase of the trial pertains to civil defamation, with the columnist, E. Jean Carroll, accusing Trump of sexually attacking her in a department store dressing room. In a previous trial, which Trump did not attend, Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages.

Trump appeared in court on Tuesday after his victory in the Iowa caucus. As prospective jurors were being sworn in, Trump expressed his disapproval when Kaplan confirmed that it had already been determined that Trump had sexually assaulted Carroll. Trump also showed visible reactions towards potential jurors with connections to his daughter’s company and the firm representing Carroll, although they both claimed they could remain impartial.

In the previous trial, a jury concluded that Trump had sexually abused Carroll but found that she hadn’t proven that he raped her. Trump is currently appealing the verdict and has not paid the awarded $5 million. The sole task of the new jury in this trial is to determine the amount Trump owes for his remarks about Carroll while he was president.

Trump’s attorneys raised concerns about the judge’s rulings prior to the trial, alleging that they had limited their ability to defend the case. They also argued that the trial should not proceed due to Trump’s ongoing appeal. Additionally, a request was made for an adjournment on Thursday to allow Trump to attend the funeral of former first lady Melania Trump’s mother. The judge rejected the request and instead offered the accommodation of allowing Trump to testify on Monday.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s schedule for the week, he arrived at the trial accompanied by Carroll. The trial is expected to last three to five days, during which Trump plans to testify within the limits set by the judge. These limitations prevent him from discussing certain topics such as Carroll’s past relationships and any argument inconsistent with the court’s ruling that Trump lied about sexually assaulting Carroll.

Carroll, aged 80, intends to testify about the damage to her career and reputation caused by Trump’s public statements. She is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages. Trump, aged 77, denies knowing Carroll or ever meeting her, claiming that she fabricated the allegations to promote her book and for political reasons. Despite the ongoing legal battles, Trump remains a frontrunner in the Republican primary polls for the 2024 presidential election.