Resumption of Donald Trump’s Defamation Trial Amid COVID-19 Worries Reveals Judge’s Optimism

New York, NY – Donald Trump’s defamation damages trial, which was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, is set to resume on Wednesday. Judge Lewis Kaplan initially intended for court proceedings to continue on Tuesday, but made the decision to delay by a day. Despite the disruption, Judge Kaplan expressed confidence, stating, “This Court functioned all the way through the worst of the COVID pandemic. We conducted over a hundred jury trials right through the lockdowns and everything else. So we have gotten through all of that — I’m sure we’ll get through all of this too.”

The defense attorney, Alina Habba, requested that Trump’s testimony be postponed until Wednesday due to the New Hampshire primary taking place on Tuesday. Trump, visibly annoyed, conferred with Habba about the timing. However, the judge did not immediately make a ruling on the request. Carroll’s attorneys opposed the delay. Furthermore, the defense’s motion for a mistrial, which was filed on Friday, was denied by the judge.

Earlier on Monday, the trial was adjourned due to health concerns. A juror reported feeling unwell and was sent home with instructions to get a COVID-19 test. Additionally, defense attorney Alina Habba disclosed that she was not feeling well and had been exposed to COVID-19 through her parents. Although she tested negative, it was decided that no testimony would be taken that day. Former President Trump remained in the courthouse for an additional 30 minutes before leaving in his motorcade.

If Trump takes the stand as expected, Judge Kaplan will closely supervise his testimony based on the ground rules previously established. The judge ruled that Trump is barred from arguing that he did not sexually abuse Carroll or that he never met her. The jury’s responsibility is solely to determine whether Trump will have to pay additional damages beyond the $5 million already awarded in the previous trial.

Judge Kaplan emphasized to the jury that they must accept the facts of the case as true, as they were determined in a previous trial. The only issues remaining for the jury to decide are related to damages for Trump’s publication of two statements denying Carroll’s allegations.

As the trial continues, the outcome rests on the jury’s decision to determine the further damages Trump will be accountable for. The adjournments and delays due to health concerns have added to the already complex proceedings, but both sides remain determined to navigate through the challenges and seek a resolution.