Undisclosed Conflict of Interest: Trump’s Lawyers Plan Appeal in $83.3 Million Verdict

New York City, NY – Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers plan to appeal the recent $83.3 million jury verdict in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation case, citing a previously undisclosed “conflict of interest” between Carroll’s lawyer and the judge overseeing the case, sources report. Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, recently discovered that Manhattan federal Judge Lewis Kaplan and Carroll’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, had worked together at a prominent law firm in the early 1990s. Habba argues that this undisclosed connection constitutes a violation of judicial ethics rules.

Roberta Kaplan was employed at Paul, Weiss Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison in Midtown from 1992 to 2016, before leaving to co-found Kaplan Hecker & Fink. During her time at Paul Weiss, she worked alongside Judge Kaplan, who was a partner at the firm until his appointment to the federal bench in 1994. Trump’s legal team asserts that Judge Kaplan failed to disclose this professional relationship, which they believe is a conflict of interest.

Roberta Kaplan plans to include this newly revealed information in their appeal and regards the lack of disclosure as an ethics violation. Despite this, a representative for Roberta Kaplan denies the existence of a conflict, stating that the two only overlapped for a brief period and that she never worked directly for Judge Kaplan. However, a former partner at Paul Weiss claims that Judge Kaplan acted as a mentor to Roberta Kaplan during that time.

Judge Kaplan awarded Carroll an $83.3 million judgment after a jury found Trump liable for defaming her. This defamation occurred in 2019 when Trump dismissed Carroll’s sexual assault allegations as a “hoax” and referred to her as a “whack job.” Some legal experts question the size of the damages, as it is unclear how much monetary harm Trump caused Carroll.

Following the verdict, Trump expressed his disagreement on Truth Social, vowing to appeal the decisions. He criticized the legal system, claiming it is being used as a political weapon against him and the Republican Party.

It remains to be seen how this newly revealed connection between Judge Kaplan and Roberta Kaplan will impact the appeal process. The appeal could potentially challenge the validity of the jury verdict or seek to have the judgment reduced. Legal experts anticipate a contentious legal battle as both sides present their arguments in court.