LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – Donald Trump’s legal team has been accused of attempting to circumvent the judge’s orders regarding their defense strategy for the upcoming defamation civil trial regarding writer E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations against the former president. Trump is facing accusations of defaming Carroll while denying her claims that he sexually assaulted her in a New York department store in the 1990s. The trial is set to begin on January 16.
Carroll had previously filed a separate lawsuit for sexual battery and defamation against Trump, which was settled in May 2023. The jury ruled that Trump was liable for sexually assaulting Carroll but did not find evidence to support the rape claim. As part of the settlement, Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has issued a ruling that Trump’s lawyers cannot argue to the jury that the former president didn’t rape Carroll during the defamation trial. This ruling is based on the fact that the previous jury only found evidence of sexual abuse and it is not relevant to the defamation case.
Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, wrote to the judge accusing Trump’s legal team of attempting to introduce evidence that could prejudice Carroll’s credibility as a witness, despite the judge’s rulings. The evidence in question includes replaying clips of a 2019 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in which Carroll made controversial statements about rape. The defense plans to use these statements to discredit Carroll’s account of the assault.
During his deposition for the case, Trump was informed by the interviewers that Carroll’s comments about rape being “sexy” were not her own views but a commonly held perception. Despite this clarification, Trump’s team intends to present the selectively edited clips to imply that Carroll fabricated her account.
The defense also plans to recall Carol Martin, who previously testified in the sexual battery trial. They seek to ask Martin about Carroll’s demeanor after the assault and suggest that she enjoyed the attention she received after coming forward. Carroll’s lawyer argues that Martin’s testimony would add little to the defamation trial and would only confuse and prejudice the jury.
The defamation lawsuit was initially filed in 2019 but has been delayed as Trump claims absolute immunity for his statements made while in office. Carroll later amended her suit to include disparaging comments made by Trump during a CNN town hall. Judge Kaplan has already ruled that Trump defamed Carroll with his 2019 comments, and the civil trial will determine the amount of damages Trump must pay.
In conclusion, Donald Trump’s legal team is facing accusations of attempting to bypass the judge’s rulings in preparation for the impending defamation civil trial regarding E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations. The trial will determine the amount of damages Trump will be required to pay for defaming Carroll.