Lawyer Urges Judge to Prevent Trump from Causing Chaos in Defamation Trial

NEW YORK – A lawyer representing columnist E. Jean Carroll, who won a $5 million jury award against Donald Trump for sex abuse and defamation last year, urged a judge on Friday to take strong measures to prevent the former president from causing disruption as a new jury considers whether he owes even more in damages. Carroll’s legal team is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and additional punitive damages for statements made by Trump.

Trump announced on Thursday that he plans to attend the trial at Manhattan federal court, where a jury will review Carroll’s request. In a letter to the judge, attorney Roberta Kaplan expressed concerns that Trump’s recent behavior and statements suggest that he may try to create chaos during the proceedings. She asserted that Trump might perceive personal or political benefits from turning the trial into a circus.

Kaplan suggested that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan (unrelated to the lawyer) warn Trump about the potential consequences of violating court orders that restrict what he and his lawyers can say during the trial. She specifically expressed worry about the possibility of Trump testifying and potentially violating court orders in the process. A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Judge Kaplan has already ruled that Trump and his legal team cannot introduce evidence or arguments that insinuate Carroll fabricated her account of sexual assault or that she had financial and political motivations to do so. In a letter, Carroll’s lawyer urged the judge to require Trump to testify under oath that he understands the trial has established his sexual assault of Carroll, as well as his false and malicious statements accusing her of fabricating her account.

Last year, a jury awarded Carroll $5 million in damages after finding that while there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support a claim of rape, there was proof that she had been sexually abused by Trump at the Bergdorf Goodman store, with Trump also defaming her with statements made in October 2022. The upcoming trial will determine whether Carroll is entitled to additional damages for statements made by Trump in 2019 and immediately after the verdict.

Carroll, 80, testified during the previous trial that she has suffered emotional distress and damage to her romantic life as a result of Trump’s attack on her. She claimed that his severe denunciation of her claims, which she first made in a 2019 memoir inspired by the #MeToo movement, has significantly harmed her career and subjected her to threats. Trump has repeatedly denied assaulting Carroll, stating that he never knew her and suggesting that she made the claims to promote her book and for political reasons.

Kaplan cited Trump’s behavior during a recent state court proceeding in Manhattan, where he disregarded a judge’s instructions to focus on trial-related matters and instead declared his innocence while claiming persecution by someone running for office. She expressed concern that this behavior could foreshadow Trump’s conduct during the upcoming trial, suggesting that he may attempt a similar performance in front of a jury.

The trial will begin next week, during which the jury will determine whether Carroll should receive further damages for Trump’s statements made as president in 2019 and the day following the previous trial’s verdict. The judge’s rulings have established the parameters for the trial, prohibiting Trump and his legal team from spreading doubt about Carroll’s assault claims or her motivations for coming forward.

In summary, a lawyer representing E. Jean Carroll, who previously won a $5 million jury award against Donald Trump, has urged a judge to take preventative measures against potential disruption from Trump during a new trial to determine additional damages. Concerns have been raised over Trump’s recent behavior and his potential to undermine the proceedings. The trial will explore whether Carroll should receive further damages for Trump’s statements made both as president and following the previous trial’s verdict.