Trump Walks Out of Defamation Trial Amidst Closing Statements, Jury Begins Deliberations

NEW YORK — Jury deliberations have begun in the defamation damages trial involving writer E. Jean Carroll and former President Donald Trump. The trial has been filled with courtroom drama, including an incident where Trump walked out of the courtroom temporarily during closing statements.

Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, argued in her closing that her client is seeking relief from Trump’s relentless attacks. Last year, Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages for battery and defamation, but Kaplan claims this verdict did not deter Trump from continuing to disparage Carroll.

During the trial, Kaplan accused Trump of caring more about money than the truth or the law. Trump himself stood up and left the courtroom while Carroll’s attorney was speaking, leading U.S. District Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to take note of his departure.

In her closing, Kaplan urged the jury to award Carroll enough money to stop Trump from further tarnishing her reputation. She argued that it would take at least $24 million to repair Carroll’s reputation and a significant amount in punitive damages to persuade Trump to end his defamation attacks.

Carroll was previously awarded $5 million in damages in a separate case against Trump for sexual abuse and other defamatory statements. This trial aims to determine if additional damages are warranted for comments Trump made about Carroll while he was in office in 2019. Trump denies responsibility and has filed an appeal.

During the trial, Trump’s attorneys faced warnings and even the threat of jail time for their courtroom behavior. Judge Kaplan scolded Trump attorney Boris Epshteyn for standing up to leave the courtroom multiple times. Trump’s other attorney, Alina Habba, was also threatened with incarceration for failing to stop arguing when instructed to by the judge.

Trump returned to the courtroom to hear his attorney’s summation and posted comments about the case on social media throughout the proceedings. Trump claimed the case was a “hoax” and accused the judge of bias against him.

Habba focused her arguments on Carroll’s admission to deleting death threats instead of preserving them for her lawsuits. She claimed this lack of evidence undermined Carroll’s case. Habba also argued that Trump’s motive was self-defense against a false accusation and that Carroll seeks attention and enjoys her newfound reputation.

As Trump continues to campaign for president, he faces four criminal indictments and potential trials. He has denied responsibility in all pending cases. Trump recently won the Republican primary in New Hampshire and the Iowa caucus this month. Additionally, he and his company were recently on trial in state court in Manhattan, where he was found to have defrauded banks and insurance companies.

The jury will now deliberate to determine if additional damages should be awarded to Carroll. Regardless of the outcome, the trial has shed light on the ongoing legal battles Trump faces as he seeks political office again.