Lawyer Urges Judge to Prevent Chaos as Trump Faces Damages Trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for columnist E. Jean Carroll, who previously won a $5 million jury award against Donald Trump for sex abuse and defamation, urged a judge on Friday to take strong measures to prevent the former president from causing disruption during the upcoming trial to determine if he owes even more in damages. Carroll’s lawyers are seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages for statements made by Trump.

Trump has stated that he will be present at the Manhattan federal court trial, where a jury will consider Carroll’s request. Attorney Roberta Kaplan, representing Carroll, expressed concerns in a letter to the judge about Trump’s potential to “sow chaos” and “poison the proceedings.” She emphasized the need for Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to warn Trump about the consequences of violating court orders that restrict what he and his legal team can say at the trial.

Kaplan also recommended that Trump be required to testify under oath in open court, without jurors present, acknowledging that for the purposes of the trial, it has been established that he sexually assaulted Carroll and made false statements with actual malice. The judge has previously ruled that Trump and his lawyers are barred from introducing evidence or arguments that suggest Carroll fabricated her assault account or had ulterior motives.

Last year, a jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages, based on the finding that while there was insufficient evidence to prove rape, Carroll was indeed sexually abused at the Bergdorf Goodman store and that Trump had defamed her with statements made in October 2022. As the defamation award only covered Trump’s fall 2022 statements, the upcoming jury will now consider whether Carroll is entitled to additional damages for Trump’s statements about her claims during his presidency and after the verdict.

Carroll, who is now 80 years old, testified in last year’s trial that she has suffered emotional distress and damage to her romantic life as a result of Trump’s attack on her. She also claimed that Trump’s severe denunciation of her memoir, in which she detailed her assault and was inspired by the #MeToo movement, had significantly harmed her career and exposed her to threats.

Trump has consistently denied assaulting Carroll and has suggested that she made the claims to promote her book and for political reasons. Kaplan’s letter cited Trump’s recent behavior in a state court proceeding where he disregarded a judge’s instructions and made statements about being an “innocent man” and being “persecuted by someone running for office.” Kaplan expressed concern that this behavior may be a preview of what to expect at the upcoming trial.

The trial is set to begin next week, and Carroll’s lawyers are seeking a significant increase in damages awarded to their client. They argue that Trump’s statements have caused substantial harm to Carroll’s personal and professional life. The judge’s ruling prohibits Trump from introducing any evidence or arguments that undermine Carroll’s assault claims or impugn her motives.

In conclusion, E. Jean Carroll’s legal team is requesting additional damages from Donald Trump in a trial to determine the extent of his liability for sex abuse and defamation. They are concerned about Trump’s potential disruptive behavior during the trial and have urged the judge to warn him about the consequences of violating court orders. The previous $5 million jury award was based on evidence of Carroll’s sexual abuse and Trump’s defamatory statements. The upcoming trial will assess if Carroll is entitled to further damages for Trump’s statements made during his presidency. Trump has continuously denied the assault allegations and suggested that Carroll fabricated the story for personal gain and political purposes. The judge has restricted Trump from presenting evidence that undermines Carroll’s claims or impugns her motives.