Lawyer Urges Judge to Prevent Chaos as Former President Faces Additional Damages in Sex Abuse Trial

NEW YORK (AP) — As a new jury prepares to consider whether former President Donald Trump owes additional damages to columnist E. Jean Carroll for sex abuse and defamation, her lawyer is urging the judge to take strong measures to prevent Trump from causing chaos during the upcoming trial. Attorney Roberta Kaplan expressed concern that Trump may seek to sow discord and poison the proceedings if he appears in court. She warned that there could be consequences if he violates court orders limiting what he and his lawyers can say at the trial.

Trump has announced his intention to attend the trial, where a jury will be considering Carroll’s request for $10 million in compensatory damages and millions more in punitive damages for statements Trump made. Kaplan, in a letter to the judge, highlighted Trump’s recent statements and behavior as indications that he may attempt to turn the trial into a circus. She stressed the importance of setting clear boundaries to prevent any disruptions.

The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, has already ruled that Trump and his lawyers cannot introduce evidence or arguments suggesting that Trump did not sexually assault Carroll or that she fabricated her account of the assault for financial and political reasons. Carroll’s lawyer is now urging the judge to require Trump to acknowledge under oath that he sexually assaulted Carroll and lied about it with actual malice. This requirement would be for the purposes of the trial.

Last year, a jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages after finding that while there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that Trump raped her, there was proof that she was sexually abused by him in a luxury Manhattan department store. The jury also found that Trump defamed her with statements he made in October 2022. However, this defamation award was limited to Trump’s fall 2022 statements, and the upcoming trial will determine whether Carroll is entitled to additional damages for statements Trump made about her claims while he was president in 2019 and the day after the verdict was announced.

Carroll, who is 80 years old, testified in last year’s trial about the emotional toll and damage to her career caused by Trump’s attacks and denunciations of her claims. She stated that his actions have led to threats against her. Trump has repeatedly denied assaulting Carroll and claimed that she fabricated the allegations for personal and political gain.

Kaplan, in her letter to the judge, pointed to Trump’s behavior at a state court proceeding in Manhattan where he disregarded a judge’s instructions to focus on trial-related matters. She warned that this behavior provides a potential preview of what may occur during next week’s trial, expressing concern that Trump may deliver a similar performance in front of the jury.

The trial is set to begin next week, and the judge will need to ensure that proper measures are taken to maintain order and fairness throughout the proceedings.